How Basic Economics Lines up with the Bible

by Joshua Horn

I read Basic Economics in the spring of 2008. It is by Calence B. Carson, and it advocates a free market economy. For this report, we will examine whether this book speaks of Biblical things, or if it is contrary to the Bible. We will look at what it says about private property, morality, and the welfare system.

In this book, the author advocates private property. He says that there can not be common property, because in the end someone has to control the use of the property. The Bible speaks a lot about private property. For example,

“Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor's.”
(Deuteronomy 5:21 KJV)

From this passage we see that property is not supposed to be shared by everyone, or your neighbor would not have an ox, it would be shared by you and him. In Basic Economics, the author shows what a disaster communism was in Russia during and around World War II. Communism says that everything should be held in common. Communism also rejected God and other spiritual things. When the Communists in Russia rejected God, and the things that He created, like private property, they should not have been surprised when they failed.
Another thing talked of in this book is how morality plays into economics. Carson says that morality is necessary, whether taught in church or elsewhere, because if everyone did what was best for them in the moment, without thought of whether it is good and right or not, it would be impossible to do business. People would constantly lie, cheat, and steal to get the best temporal result. The Bible says,

“Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:13-16)

Here God stopped people who obeyed his laws from destroying the economy by commanding them not to do what is right in their own eyes. One thing that the author of Basic Economics does not emphasize is that the only way to give people a real morality is to teach them about Christ and God and why they must obey Him as their creator.

Another thing that this book speaks of is the welfare system. In the end of the book, he goes through several different economics systems from history, and this is one of them. The basic idea of this system is to take from those who have goods, and give to those who do not have them. It is an economic system where the government controls the production of all goods, and also the distribution of them. Those who advocate this system say that everyone should get paid by the government, even if they can not provide for themselves. The Bible says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Proverbs 13:4) Carson says that the government should not give people money. It is not their job, but rather the person's family or the church should provide for them. The Bible says that if there is a widow who does not have a family, the church should support her. (I Timothy 5:3-16) The Bible tells us that the government should not have a welfare system.

Here I have shown a few examples of how this book does, and does not, line up with scripture. I have shown it in these situations: private property, morality and the welfare system. I think that in general Carson aligns pretty closely with the Bible, but he does not reference it explicitly. He just recommends what practically works the best, and because of the way God set it up, it works out right. I think that even though most of his ideas are biblical, it would have improved the book if he had put more scripture in it.

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Lee's Lieutenants, a Study in Command – Volume 1 Manassas to Malvern Hill

Lee's Lieutenants, a Study in Command – Volume 1 Manassas to Malvern Hill

by Joshua Horn
book by Douglas Southall Freeman

Lee's Lieutenants is a three volume work written by Douglas S. Freeman. It is biography of Lee's lieutenants: the generals of the Confederate army during the American Civil War. It is a biography of all of them – how they led their troops, interacted with each other, and how they fought battles. I started reading this book January 17, 2008 and finished March 13, 2008. This book is 731 pages of reading, not including the Appendix.

Even though it was intended to be about the generals under Robert E. Lee, it starts at the beginning of the war, when Lee was not in command, to give a background of the characters who where under Lee. When the book beginnings, P. T. Beauregard, the hero of Fort Sumter, comes to take command of the Army in Virgina. He has a tendency to make great plans, but not be able to do them. He takes command of the army, and fights his first battle. This battle was the first battle of Manassas, called by the Unions the first battle of Bull Run. Joseph E. Johnson was really in command in this battle, but Beauregard pretended that he was in command. Even though Manassas was a Confederate victory, it was not well planed by Beauregard. He sent out many conflicting order which confused the generals under him.

After Manassas, Beauregard was moved to a different arena of war because of his conduct as Manassas, and Johnson remained in command. Johnson was from the United States Army, and he had a bad relationship with President Jefferson Davis and the Secretary of War. Johnson retreated before the Union army twice, and was criticized for destroying stores when he should have brought them with him. Finally, Johnson was trying to hold of the Unions just a few miles away from Richmond. He had to prevent two Union Armies from joining up. He attacked a part of the Union army that was stationed at Seven Pines. He needed to overpower them before they could receive reinforcements. Johnson's plan was very complex, and his subordinates made mistakes. The most important thing that happened in the battle was that Johnson was wounded. He could no longer command the army, so Robert E. Lee was put in command.

During this time, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Richard Ewell had been campaigning in the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson fought several battles, and did very well. Then he and his army moved to Richmond to drive back the Unions from before the capital. This series of battles in driving the Unions back was called the Seven Days Battles, and occurred from June 25 to July 1, 1862. Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, and several other subordinates, developed a plan where the army currently before Richmond would attack from the front and Jackson would attack the Union's rear. Jackson's troops did not march fast enough, because of muddy roads. The Unions got news of the plan and began to retreat. The Confederate army began to pursue them. Here is what Freeman says of this campaign:

“The strategic aim of the campaign had been achieved despite bad-co-ordination, worse tactics and the worst imaginable staff work: Richmond had been relieved. McClellan no longer was at the city's gates.”1

The bad tactics of the generals resulted in two of them being removed from their place in the Army of Northern Virgina.

There are many characters in this book. One is Robert E. Lee. Before he became the commander of the Army of Northern Virgina, he was a military adviser to the President. One of his strong points was keeping the peace between generals. He knew the President well after working with him, and so he had a better relationship with him than Johnson did.

Stonewall Jackson is another important character. After commanding the First Brigade, he was appointed commander of the “Army of the Valley” in the Shenandoah Valley. During this campaign he did very well, and he used his infantry, artillery and calvary together better than any other general. He was very strict in disciple, and kept his plans well hidden. Sometimes he created problems by not telling his generals what the plans where.

I think this book is useful to learn about the Confederate generals who served under Lee and his predecessors. It does not provide an overview of the Union side, or different fronts in the war, but it does do a good job of speaking of the battles and commanders in Virgina. I like the way the author wrote it, and I am looking forward to finish the other two volumes.

1Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee's Lieutentants, a Study in Command (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons) volume 1, p. 604

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Joshua's Birthday

Today is my brother Joshua's Birthday. He is turning 13, which is the age when he is becoming a man. He has always been a very nice brother. I am thankful that he is my brother. Joshua and I enjoy playing outside together. We have built many things in the woods together including forts, swings, a ladder and many other things which have all been a blessing to do with him. Here is a picture of us together with two of the things we have built together, the tree fort and the ladder:

I Corinthians 13:11 : "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."