Monthly Archives: December 2014

Milton Friedman: The Role of Government in a Free Society (Q&A)

A classic.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of coercion and how government is the antithesis of liberty, pay close attention to the first question and Milton’s response.  You can replace the FCC in his remarks with any number of government agencies (FDA, USDA, EPA, IRS, etc.)

Also very interesting for Christians that support using the State to try and coerce righteousness out of sinners, not unlike the Spanish Inquisition.

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Liberty and Science

If you’re a Libertarian like me, there are many predictable objections you’ll hear repeatedly from critics on why government MUST exist. As I’ve written previously, I don’t have a concrete plan for the world which is exactly WHY I favor Liberty vs. Coercion. However, allowing people to make decisions free from Government control makes some people nervous or others downright crazy.

To be sure, there are different flavors of Libertarianism from Anarchy, Minarchism, Voluntaryism, and Anarcho-Capitalism to name a few.

Aside from roads, schools, and bigger global police forces, one area of concern from some fence-sitters is Science. There are pockets of people out there that want smaller, less intrusive government, but one of their hang ups is the idea that without government, who would fund scientific research? Without the government taking, aggregating and distributing tax payer money to funnel billions of dollars into medical, astrophysical, climatic, or genetic research, mankind would suffer terrible intellectual atrophy.

If this is you, Libertarianism.org recently hosted a podcast entitled “Science Doesn’t Need Public Funding” which I would highly recommend. Terence Kealey, the Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Buckingham, brilliantly puts some of the most common (and some fairly uncommon) aspects of these fears on the table and examines them.

As I’ve said time and again, I believe strongly that the Market is THE BEST mechanism by which the needs of society can be met because the Market forces us to produce better, more efficient and inexpensive technologies every single day. The Market’s appetite for Innovation is insatiable and constantly pushes progress forward, even before the idea of Progress was ever coined.

While I was listening to this podcast, I was reminded of the CEO of Google, Larry Page, sharing his desire to give all of his billions of dollars of inheritance to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, rather than charity if he were to pass. Some critics, I’m sure, balked at Page and labeled him as a greedy corporatist, but if you read his comments, his desire is to support innovative thinkers like Musk to the benefit of Mankind.

One point that Kealey makes on the podcast which I want to emphasize is that from a % basis, US public funding in the name of scientific research is a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amounts of spending on things like Social Security, Medicare / Medicaid, and Defense. However, the symbolic and ideological notion that science cannot exist without Government-forced funding is what’s critical to debunk. In doing so, I’m hoping more fence-sitters with leaning toward smaller government will finally take the bold step of embracing life without a coercive oppressor.

Life Matters

Trying to stay positive, especially with Christmas and New Year coming up, but there’s so much negative news lately. In particular, the escalation of violence seems to be getting worse. Maybe it’s not escalation but more awareness of it.

I’ve written previously about how I abhor violence and war and the taking of life. In the last few months, we’ve had more violence breaking out in Ferguson, MO and NYC. We’ve learned some details about the CIA’s regular use of torture as a way of gaining intelligence (though the report finds torture was ineffective in gaining any meaningful intelligence).

People are angry. Some are crying racism and oppression. Others are shouting back “obey the law”. Some are defending law enforcement and the military at all costs and without question because they put their lives on the line every day. Others are going around killing cops as a result of their anger.

Julie Borowski put this video clip together, and she made the comment that it’s sad that this actually has to be said.

 

What’s even more alarming is that we can’t even agree on that. We can’t agree that taking lives — no matter if we’re talking about the lives of tax-avoiding citizens, shoplifters or policemen sitting in their car — is wrong. We can’t all agree that torture is inhumane and should never be used, even if our enemies choose to use it. If we can’t all get behind the sanctity of Life — Human Life regardless of nationality, ethnicity, occupation or religion — then really, is there any doubt we’re never going to agree on whether we should allow prayer in school, a $20 minimum wage, voter ID card requirements, gay marriage equality, or the end of the war on drugs?

It’s not about political party lines or how to score more votes.  It’s more than simply following orders or obeying laws without ever questioning their legitimacy.

Life is sacred. How you choose to live your life is your business. I can’t understand why that’s so hard to get behind.

Increase peace.

Seven Children?!? HOW COME?


 

We have a big family. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of having a big family. People have such interesting reactions when they meet us for the first time. I guess it’s pretty rare to meet a family of 9 nowadays, but an Asian American family of 9 is practically unheard of.

The first time I saw this clip below, I was laughing all day because we’ve heard them all.

Still. Probably THE BEST reaction I’ve heard was when my wife and I went back to our old church neighborhood, to one of favorite Chinese restaurants. It had been years since we were there and the owner asked us how many children we had. When we told her that we had seven children, she gasped and said “Seven children?!? HOW COME?” She’s such a sweet lady, and I’m sure it didn’t come out exactly as she meant, but we thought it was hilarious.

The funny thing is that when we talked about getting married, my then girlfriend from college told me emphatically that she didn’t want to have kids.

Ever.

Kids are loud. They are messy and expensive. They are disrespectful and obnoxious. Despite her warnings, I still kept my dream of having a large family to myself.

When we first got married, my wife and I were practicing birth control. After probably a month or 2 into our marriage, my father came to us with a very simple message. He said “there’s no perfect time to have children. There’s always going to be something going on at work, with friends, or financial considerations.”

That’s all he said.

Later that month, Jenny came to me and said that maybe we could talk about children in 5 years. I was thrilled that she had opened her heart to having children . . . someday. And I was in no rush.

Less than a month later, we were pregnant while still on birth control.

I know it was a miracle because only God could move her heart and overcome medical science like He did. Despite all of our efforts to remain childless, God had different plans for us. I’ve written about it previously, but not too long after our first daughter was born, Jenny decided that she wanted to quit her job and stay at home with our child. Again, wasn’t part of the plan we had created, but He made a way.

Somewhere along the way, some friends from church started talking to us about the blessing of children, trusting in God’s sovereignty, and the miracle of life. Today, it’s known as the Quiverfull movement among some Christians. The premise of this movement is rooted in Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

The belief, depending on who you are talking to, comes down to the idea that God ordains life. If you really trust in Him and believe that Children are a blessing and reward, then you will embrace any child that is conceived and commit to life without contraception.

Soon afterward, Jenny took to motherhood like it was what she was meant to be all along. We stopped actively practicing birth control altogether and God blessed us with 6 more children over the next ten years. Now, we weren’t necessarily trying to have more children per se. However, we weren’t actively trying to prevent it either.

After our youngest was born, her doctor had raised some serious concerns about Jenny’s health if we tried to conceive again. We had talked and prayed about what to do. In the end, we decided that I would undergo sterilization. So, we’ve stopped at 7.

Some Quiverfull Christians would frown on our decision and claim we lacked faith. Others might say ‘well why didn’t you stop sooner?’. The truth is that I’m so thankful we have seven children, but I don’t see it as a proclamation of our trusting in God. I would trust in Him whether we were childless or had a dozen. Birth control that prevents conception (not talking about those forms that work as abortion) is available because of advances in medical technology. If God has given us the wisdom to develop technology and medicine, why would using that wisdom show a lack of faith?

You could make a similar case that if you really trusted in God, you should be able to walk blindfolded across a busy highway because if He meant for you to die, you would. If not, then He’d maneuver all the cars around you like a giant game of Frogger. Or if you have such a distain for the technological wisdom of Man, then why bother getting shots or antibiotics or Tylenol or even bandages?

You could similarly claim that using maps or navigation shows a lack of faith.  If God wanted you to arrive to your destination, by a certain time, you should just start driving (or walking) in whichever direction you feel led by the Spirit.

Christians shouldn’t fear using technology or medicine, but at the same time, our hope is not based in it either. God is sovereign and His will shall be done. My children keep me grounded. They force me to think about someone else’s needs. They provide me with endless entertainment and more funny stories to share at parties than all the Hollywood Screenwriters’ Guild combined. And ultimately, when they put their trust in me, as the Bible instructs us to have faith like children, I see the relationship that God wants me to have with Him.