Thursday, August 30, 2012

Would There Be Spontaneous Order in Heaven?

I am currently in a conversation with a Pastor about whether Christians should be anarchists (yes, this is under the pretense that I'm a Christian.... did I tell you I was writing a book and am doing research??).  To read a very good article about this, don't miss Joe Sobran's inspiring piece.  The following is a succinct summary of the conversation:



Pastor: So why do you think God instituted the whole idea of government in the first place?

Me: I'm not sure.  I don't think for social order though.  Spontaneous order, as described by Adam Smith (the invisible hand via the price system) and F.A. Hayek is responsible for social order.  Man-made institutions such as the Federal Reserve distort the signals the make spontaneous order effective.  

God may have instituted government as a punishment for a lack of faith.  

Pastor:  if it was punishment for a lack of faith, then why would he institute the same governmental order in his heavenly kingdom and in the church here in earth?
Incidentally, Newton's laws of physics attest to the fact that there is no such thing as spontaneous order, only of spontaneous disorder...

Me: Yes, but spontaneous order comes not out of random spontaneity, it comes from individuals planning their lives with what localized information they have.  Information and knowledge are dispersed.  Different tasks require different skill sets.  Unfortunately resources are scarce so we all have to share them.  What is the mechanism for sharing scarce resources?  There are several:  

1. A command control economy- Men plan the lives of others claiming that they have certain knowledge that will make the lives of dispersed individuals better.  This doesn't work for several reasons (one of which economist Ludwig von Mises writes in "Economic Calculation in a Socialist Commonwealth" in which he dispels the notion of rational centralized allocations of scarce natural resources).  

2. A free economy.  Individual, within the institution of a system of property rights, buy, sell, and trade items and services on a market.  The spontaneous order comes when thinking and planning individuals seek out their own self interest in a society with scarce resources in which others are doing the same.  As Adam Smith says, the baker doesn't bake out of the goodness of his heart, or some moral dictate to be altruistic, but in an effort to exchange his goods.... but as a result of the fact that if he trades his goods with other people he is able to consume more than if he produced everything himself. 

The price system is key here.  When prices and profit margins increase in one sector of the economy, resources flood that sector, which increases supply and decreases price.  Both producers and consumers win .  This spontaneous order meets the desires of other market participants.  

Without this mechanism there is no rational way to distribute scarce goods.  

So the crux of Ludwig von Mises argument against socialism (the public ownership of the means of production) is that this destroys the price system which allows a rational allocation of scarce resources in an economy.  When Capital Goods (goods that produce consumer goods or other capital goods) are owned by the public they are not traded on the market and prices are not generated.  Public Policymakers have to give their best guess at where resources should go.... and because of Hayek's observation above (knowledge is dispersed, etc) this is impossible.  Knowledge is often momentary and is never static (this is different than absolute truth... what I mean is, a worker often has to vary is methods of production to account for unintended variables).  

The more society expands scientifically the more it becomes impossible to centralize knowledge and use this knowledge to direct the economy.  

In heaven, however, resources are not scarce.  In a heavenly society none of this would matter.





So my conclusion???  No, there wouldn't be spontaneous order in heaven (except maybe in language, culture... but then again, probably not that either).  Heaven would be horrifically homogeneous.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Christianity and Anarchy

So, here is small excerpt from the book I am writing.  This is after the lead character killed a congressman and he is struggling with the morality of it all.  This is why I love to write.  I can explore situations and have discussions that others refuse to have with me.  It's like heaven for inquisitive but autistic people... though I am not autistic it seems these conversations are few and far in between for me nowadays.  So, here we go:



                The requests continued for a few minutes before the prayer.  After the prayer there was a moment of silence that Pastor Smith broke by saying, “Well, that was powerful.  I think Jeff’s testimony gives us a good way to begin our discussion.  And, as per Sam’s request, we will be talking about Christianity and government.  Let’s open up to Romans chapter thirteen.  Cain, could you read the first two versus?”
                “Uh, sure.”  Cain flipped to the proper page.  “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.  So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.” 
                “Alright,” Pastor Smith said, “next subject?”
                “Well,” Cain said, “I don’t think this is the be all and end all of the subject.   The state seems to me to be nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.  Also, didn’t Paul break out of jail at one point?  Was obeying the government?  Jesus died at the hands of the state!  Was that just?  And, Paul claimed that slaves should obey their masters.  Is this a strategic move for Christianity or an endorsement of slavery?  He also said that women were not to speak in church, or when they did, it should only be to instruct other women or children.  Yet God inspired women to prophesy in the streets in the bible!  Saint Augustine believed that the state was a punishment for sin, which is not hard to believe considering the events that befell Israel after they asked for and received a King.  I think you need to take that passage in context.” 
                “Well, well.  I see you’ve done your research,” Pastor Smith, stammering for words. 
                “Let me be clear, when I argue with my Dad I am NOT arguing against law.  I am arguing against the monopoly of law in the hands of an institution that initiates the use of violence against everyone else in order perpetuate its existence.  I believe that people are self-owners and as such should not serve the state.  Can a man have two masters?”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Lonely God


As God gazed at his creation from above he turned inward on himself.  What’s the point of being omnipotent when omnipotence is the strongest, most salient limit on life?  My existence, he thought, necessitates my loneliness.  But my creations don’t satiate that loneliness. They are just images of me; often times thinking they ARE me.  I have made some with the perception of thinking.  They are the most deluded.  I AM, and therefore they are not.  They are not thinkers.  They do not have free will.  They just follow the path I set in motion. 

Like a little girl with inanimate dolls.  The doll’s future is determined by that girl and therefore by me.  It is determined by the girl to the extent she has the capacity to plan ahead.  They are determined wholly by me.  Nothing surprises me.  Nothing catches me off guard.

So sometimes I get vicious. 

Like me, all these creations spend most of their waking hours looking for new and innovative ways of being entertained.  Why not?  What else is there to do?  So when things aren’t going well for the dolls the girl makes them fight.  Enraptured with the fight she almost fails to notice the intruder in her room.  She looks up to see a dirty, drunken man stagger in with one goal in mind. 
And I AM entertained.

What would I give, he thinks, to have men do this on their own volition?  Most are convinced they do, but again, they are deluded.  The capacity for free will is impossible in the presence of omnipotence.  So at most a single man can be responsible for great terrors but ME, he thought, I knew about these terrors when I was weaving you in your mother’s womb.  I am wholly responsible. 

God is LOVE, but he is also HATE, RAPE, and MURDER.