By JLP | December 24, 2012
I read this interview last night and thought I would share it with you. I thought Reed’s response to the following question was excellent:
Israel Wayne: Does your personal religious faith in any way shape your view of macro-economics? Please explain.
Lawrence Reed: First of all, I don’t much care for the adjective “religious.” To me, “religion” is man’s attempt to gain God’s approbation through works. Christianity, by contrast, is a personal relationship with Christ that starts with God’s grace and one’s acceptance of Christ as his (or her) personal savior.
Secondly, I wouldn’t say my faith shapes my view of the economy any more than it shapes my understanding of the weather or how a car runs or a plane flies. Objective, observable facts, evidence and natural laws are the keys in such things, though I fully appreciate that the only reason we can even have such scientific tools is that we live in an ordered universe, itself a divine creation and gift.
Where my faith does play a part in economics is in the area of what’s right and what’s wrong. My understanding of Christian principles about human nature and proper behavior leads me to appreciate the uniqueness and preciousness of each individual. It leads me to oppose excessive concentrations of earthly power in any mortal hands. Christian principles call for honesty, humility, patience, respect for life and property, self-discipline and voluntary interaction over brute force. They argue definitively against cheating people through currency debasement, redistributing their wealth through taxation, or pretending that a handful of “experts” with power can or should plan the lives of everybody else. My Christian principles tell me that reforming the world begins and ends with individual self-reform and cannot be achieved by “enlightened” planners pushing the rest of us around.
The Eighth and Tenth Commandments against coveting and stealing by themselves should invalidate most of what the federal government does these days. “Thou Shalt Not Steal” is followed by a period, not a qualifier. It does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Steal except under the following conditions: the other guy has more than you do, you really want it, you’re absolutely sure you can spend it better than the guy who earned it, or if a politician is available to steal it on your behalf.”