Curtis Dahlgren
They think we're stupid on Economics 101, too!
By Curtis Dahlgren
July 10, 2011

"There are real problems in the world. The media ought to focus on them." — John Stossel ("Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity")

"Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you'll find plenty of fish." — Jesus

"I GO FISHING," SAID PETER (in a fit of frustration). Things only got worse. By three A.M. Peter and his friends hadn't caught a single fish (sounds a bit like Oboma's quest for "new jobs"). His messianic "5-Year Plan" has only gone from bad to worse.

"They cast therefore the net on the right side of the boat, and now they couldn't lift it for all the fishes." They hadn't been hallucinating about a guy on the shore yelling at them. They were lucid enough to count the fish — which numbered 153 (one of the more humorous stories in the Bible).

The point is that there were two sides of the boat representing choices (as in "choose life"). Perhaps the "right side" of the boat was the side closest to Jesus. Perhaps one side of the boat represented Spiritual solutions, and the other side represented "Secular" or man-made "solutions" (such as government 5-Year Plans).

The bottom line lesson was, do what the Lord tells you to do and you will catch more fish — or, "plenty" or, "economic growth." Slogans such as "It's the economy, stupid" ignore the other side of the boat — the moral side. As someone said, it's really ALL about morality, stupid!"

My nomination for article-of-the-week is "Freedom and Free Enterprise — Great Biblical Blessings" ( — July/Aug 2011). A couple of quotes:

"Few people understand how much the wonderful principles of civil liberty and free enterprise originated with God and are taught in the Bible!" — Don Hooser (subtitle)

"The greatest freedoms are spiritual, but physical, civil and economic freedoms are also important. They often overlap."

"When man's laws are overly complex, overly restrictive and excessive in number, they largely deprive people of precious freedom. However, God's laws, which are perfect and few in number, provide for maximum liberty overall."

"LOVE THY NEIGHBOR" HE SAYS (not "steal from thy neighbor" to — quote — redistribute to your friends — unquote). Liberals are farcically claiming the moral High Ground with their "tax the millionaires and billionaires" scams, but — simply put — the Lord said that we would always have the poor among us. Many books have been published to put Christian economic principles in modern terms.

One of them is Foundations of Economics: A Christian View by Dr. Shawn Ritenour of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A couple more are Biblical Economics by R.C. Sproul, Jr. and "Money, Greed, and God" by Jay Richards. Mr. Hooser's article continues:

"God said mankind was to 'be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and . . have dominion [stewardship] over all the other creatures' . .

"Notice what God did
not say: He did not specify innumerable details about how they should do it . . .

"This immediately shows God's confidence in the abilities of human beings in general to learn — from their own experience and the experience of others — how to manage their occupations without rigid control by some central government."

That reminds me of another important point: Economics (the "dismal" science) is one of the more recent developments of Academia. Man's understanding of economics was in its infancy during the Industrial Revolution when Karl Marx was writing. He made the Big Mistake of assuming that there was no more to learn about economic principles and business management, so therefore private enterprise had totally failed and just had to be replaced by communism.

While many of the soft sciences in Academe have spiraled into the muck and mire of "social science," the MBA programs of universities have made progress even during our lifetimes. They teach how to use "self-interest" for the benefit of both employer and employees. Godly liberty allows businesses to be run both honestly and efficiently, which produces (surprise, surprise) "economic growth."

In the next column I should review John Stossel's book, "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity; Get Out the Shovel — Why Everything You Know Is Wrong"; for example:

"One reason I became a consumer reporter was that I assumed business was fraught with cheating and deceit . . .

"But I eventually noticed that most cheating is pretty trivial, that the vast majority of businesses don't cheat, and that the cheaters rarely get away with it for long." He quotes Adam Smith, who explained how one man's 'self interest' works wonders, even for strangers:

"He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

In other words, the more decentralized these "intentions" are, the greater the Good, while centralized government "5-Year Plans" only bear bad fruit — no matter how good the intentions (this is one of those paradoxes which Liberals can't fathom).

Never mind the morality or immorality of their Plans, Lefty liberals can't even comprehend the arithmetic. They think that mathematics is just a theoretical philosophy course in Existentialism, or something! Two plus two equals, relatively, FIVE.

Speaking of that Invisible Hand of the market, Stossel says that few appreciate it. He quotes from an essay by Leonard Read of the Foundation for Economic Education ("I, Pencil"):

"I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe . . My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California . . .

"Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into [the lumbering]: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors [etc] . . .

"My 'lead' is graphite mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools . . and those who put [the graphite] aboard ships, and those who make the ships . . .

"Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one . . .

"I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite. But to these miracles has been added: the configuration of creative human energies — millions of tiny know-hows configuring naturally and spontaneously."

The Lefties don't have a clue. They look at a pencil and all they see is the "exploitation" of the Third World and the despoiling of Mother Earth. They don't see how one man's invention has been a benefit to every nation of "Earth."

Liberals seem to think that Mother Earth would have been better off without rubber trees, banana trees, or coffee, tea, or cocoa for the British Empire and so on, to "exploit."


© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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