Re: [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences (ASA focus for the future- Christian economics)

From: Lynn Walker <>
Date: Mon Jan 05 2009 - 13:42:32 EST

On Sat, Jan 3, 2009 at 12:51 PM, Dehler, Bernie <>wrote:
> My claim is that *economics is amoral*.
It isn't possible to separate morality from economic policy.

Most every destructive policy put into place by the left can be traced to
some Christian virtue gone mad - i.e., feed the hungry, so steal from the
rich and call it giving, or ... [snip] - Here: *Life Amidst the
Postmodern Ruins **

* <>*<>

Thomas Jefferson: A Wise and Frugal Government

"To compel a man to furnish moneys for the propagation of ideas [including
economic] he disbelieves and abhors is tyranny and *a great sin.

*"To take from one [economics], because it is thought his own industry and
that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who,
or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate
arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone
the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. Thomas
Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their
own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth
of labor and bread it has earned [economics] - this is the sum of good
government. First Inaugural Address.


*Excerpts From Pacem In Terris: Peace on Earth *Encyclical of Pope John
*On Establishing Universal Peace In Truth, Justice, Charity, And Liberty*,
April 11, 1963

"Man's personal dignity requires besides that he enjoy freedom and be able
to make up his own mind when he acts.

In his association with his fellows, therefore, there is every reason why
his recognition of rights, observance of duties, and many-sided
collaboration with other men, should be primarily a matter of his own
personal decision.

Each man should act on his own initiative, conviction, and sense of
responsibility, not under the constant pressure of external coercion or
enticement. [Economic or otherwise]

*There is nothing human about a society that is welded together by force.
Far from encouraging, as it should, the attainment of man's progress and
perfection, it is merely an obstacle to his freedom."

"Hence, a regime which governs solely or mainly by means of threats and
intimidation or promises of reward, provides men with no effective incentive
to work for the common good.

And even if it did, it would certainly be offensive to the dignity of free
and rational human beings."

"Consequently, laws and decrees passed in contravention of the moral order,
and hence of the divine will, can have no binding force in conscience, since
'it is right to obey God rather than men.'"

Here's Barack Obama [Youtube link below] musing about how best to *redistribute
wealth* in America in a Chicago Public Radio interview in 2001.

Not whether, but how: Through the courts or through legislation?

A caller asks him to explain how he would do* "reparative economic
work."* Obama
gives the legislative route two thumbs up as his preferred method of
"breaking free of the constraints" placed by the founding fathers in the
Constitution and then burbles about cobbling together the "actual coalition
of powers through which you bring about redistributive change."

STACLU has transcribed the choice parts of the interview:

*If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and
its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to
invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would
have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and
order as long as I could pay for it I?d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never
ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic
issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as
radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn?t
that radical. It didn?t break free from the essential constraints that were
placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been
interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the
Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can?t
do to you. Says what the Federal government can?t do to you, but doesn?t say
what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and
that hasn?t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights
movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused
I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community
organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the
actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive
change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

*The bottom line from Jeff Goldstein:


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Jan 5 13:43:00 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Jan 05 2009 - 13:43:00 EST