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Mar
05

The Economics of Dallas Buyers Club

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From EconStories, the makers of the “Fear the Boom and Bust” and “Fight of the Century”, comes a new web show all about economic in popular culture. Hence the title: EconPop! Episode one is about the economics of the recent Academy-award winning film Dallas Buyers Club. This is excellent stuff, folks.

Ready for more? Subscribe to the EconStories Youtube channel to stay tuned for new episodes.

Categories : Media
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Enjoy this great video from the Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity on the basic social principles of human flourishing. While not explicitly Christian, it is easy to see how it all fits together.

This is a great video to share with friends about why the non-aggression principle is so fundamental to how the world should be.

Categories : Media
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Friday Challenge: Spot the theological problem

It’s Friday, let’s play a game! Today’s challenge is to spot the theological problem in this song:

Okay, I’ll give you the lyrics just to help out…

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
And we’ll all stay free

Praise the Lord and swing into position
Can’t afford to be a politician
Praise the Lord, we’re all between perdition
And the deep blue sea

Yes the sky pilot said it
Ya gotta give him credit
For a sonofagun of a gunner was he

Shouting Praise the Lord, we’re on a mighty mission
All aboard, we ain’t a-goin’ fishin’
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
And we’ll all stay free

Tell us what you think in the comments!

Categories : Media
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Two weeks have passed since I traveled to Virginia to debate at Patrick Henry College. I think it is about time to give you an account of what happened!

First, the back-story… I was contacted a few months ago by Chris at Patrick Henry College. Chris was the President of the Wilberforce Society at PHC. He had read a few of my essays on LCC about government and marriage, and felt that I would be a good candidate for a debate to be held at PHC between a libertarian and a conservative regarding government regulation of marriage. I was a bit skeptical at first; I even wondered if I was being “set up” for a takedown. Indeed, why select me of all people? I am not a big name guy, I do not have a huge reputation. But Chris was immensely kind, well-spoken, and transparent about everything. He said that they specifically wanted me because I do not adhere to the perfect “party line” of promoting state-regulated gay marriage, but rather challenge the entire institution of the government itself and its power to regulate marriage. He said that this was the conversation he found most compelling and wanted to bring me in to talk about it.

At that point, I tentatively accepted but we had some issues nailing down a date – and things just continued to get crazier for both of us. Thankfully, we were able to come to an agreement and we set everything in motion. My debate opponent was to be Dr. Allan Carlson of the Howard Center For Family, Religion, and Society. Thus, on November 16th, I took an early flight to Washington, D.C. Besides the ritual groping I always seem to earn at the airport, it was a nice flight. Chris and I had lunch together and discussed politics, education, and our mutual faith. In fact, he was so excited about the event that he could not help but interrogate me about what I was intending to say in the debate. So, I had a warm-up Q&A session before the main show.

The debate was a fairly standard format – but since this was my first time doing a serious formal debate, nothing was standard for me and it shows! The resolution for the debate read, “Resolved: That the government should define marriage as between one man and one woman.” Dr. Carlson and I were both given 15 minutes for an opening statement with him (the affirmative) starting, followed by rebuttals of 5 and 6 minutes for each of us, and Dr. Carlson receiving an opportunity for a counter-rebuttal of 1 minute. Then, we were to have a 30 minute Q&A from the audience.

My remarks were centered around three central points:

  1. Government definition of marriage is unnecessary. This is my “historical” point. Marriage did quite well for millennia without any government help or definition.
  2. Federal Government definition of marriage, in particular, is unconstitutional. This is my “Appeal to the American in You” point. Constitutional conservatives, on their own terms, do not have the grounds for demanding the Federal Government step in and define marriage.
  3. The power to define marriage is a power that no government should have. This is my “ethical” point. A government powerful enough to define things the way you like is also powerful enough to take all your definitions away. Moreover, it becomes precedent for all kinds of terrible positive law.

Following these points, I presented a positive case for what the Church in particular can do to support marriage and fundamental liberty without appealing to the government to take action at all.

The video, shown below, is 75 minutes long, so if you want to watch everything at once be sure to set aside a bit of time for it! I will warn you ahead of time that I did have some rough spots, but overall I think it was a good learning experience for all.



Video streaming by Ustream

(Permanent link to the Ustream page, in case the embedding doesn’t work at some point.)

A few post-mortem thoughts…

I probably researched what Dr. Carlson has written on marriage more than he did of my own writings. I basically outflanked him with his own material. I felt that his rebuttal was fairly weak and did not truly answer some of my fundamental objections to the conservative position. Despite some of my own foul-ups in my discussion, I thought the Q&A was pretty spectacular, albeit I really need to become better versed in common law traditions so I can talk more intelligently on specifics!

In the end, it was clear that Dr. Carlson had much trust in government power, and, on the other hand, I had absolutely zero trust in it. Let the conservatives and libertarians take heed. I like Dr. Carlson and have a lot of respect for his work, but I do believe he has too much faith in government.

One last thing you do not see in the video is the “afterward” of the debate. At the conclusion, I had a large number of students immediately come to the front desiring to continue the conversation. I spent over an hour and a half talking with students about libertarianism, theology, marriage, culture, and policy. From what I could tell, Dr. Carlson did not quite garner the same kind of after-debate audience. It somewhat reminded me of the end of the second Keynes-Hayek Rap Video, and certainly suggests that the intellectual tide of these young people is turning toward liberty. Or, at the very least, they are very curious!

So what did you think? Let me know in the comments.
<br /><a href=”http://www.ustream.tv/” style=”padding: 2px 0px 4px; width: 400px; background: #ffffff; display: block; color: #000000; font-weight: normal; font-size: 10px; text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;” target=”_blank”>Video streaming by Ustream</a>

Categories : Articles, Blog News, Media
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Libertarianism, the Church, and the Millennial Generation

Last week, I was interviewed on Al Jazeera America’s “Inside Story” show, for a segment about millennials looking to change large institutions. Two other fine young people joined the show as well, Erica Williams of EWS Strategies and entrepreneur Ben Berkowitz of SeeClickFix.com. I had the opportunity to talk about millennials in the church, especially with regards to interactions with government. At first, I thought we would be talking extensively about the government shutdown (which had just ended) and I had prepared a lot of material for just that subject. However, I found out three minutes before filming that we were really going to be talking about the millennials changing large institutions again. So, even though I started a little slow, I think I communicated some good messages about the church and liberty through the segment.

It is rather difficult to find any clips from the show due to AJAM not releasing much online at this time, but I was able to find a Youtube video for the entire show. Hopefully a few of you can watch it before it gets taken down. Perhaps at a later date I’ll find better videos for you. Apologies in advance for the shakiness and excess noise, but what can you do. (Videos after the jump.) Read More→

Categories : Media
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