Friday, August 28, 2009

Massachusetts Notes: The Perfect Money

Massachusetts Notes: The Perfect Money
Thomas Allen

Many fiat money reformers, such as Charles Norburn,[1] identify the Massachusetts note and other colonial paper money as the perfect money. This money was perfect because the government issued it, it was interest free, and precious metal did not back it. Some notes did give the promise of redemption in gold or silver at some future date, which was often postpone. 

This paper focuses on the notes issued by Massachusetts because it was the first colony to issue legal tender paper money. It is probably the most cited colonial currency by fiat money reformers. 

Massachusetts first issued its paper money in 1690. At first its notes were merely promises to pay. However, in 1692, Massachusetts made its notes full legal tender for all public and private debts. With these notes, the government of Massachusetts paid its expenses and financed public works. It also made long-term, low-interest loans to private individuals. Interest on these loans was a source of government revenue. "There was unrivaled prosperity"[2]—so claim fiat money reformers.

Massachusetts resorted to paper money to pay its soldiers. During King William’s War, the army failed to acquire plunder from its expedition against the French in Quebec to pay the soldiers. As the soldiers needed payment and its treasury was empty and it could not borrow the money, the government paid them with bills of credit, paper money, or government notes.

In December 1690, it issued £7000 in paper notes. The notes were issued interest free and were not legal tender. People could use these notes to pay taxes or to exchange for commodities in the treasury. The government promised to pay these notes in specie received as tax payments, but it did not impose a time limit on the redemption.[3] It also promised to issue no more notes. Like all governments, it lied. It continued to issue paper money for the next 60 years. Thus, "the colony virtually went into the banking business by anticipating the taxes with bonds which were to serve the people as ‘paper money.’"[4]

In February 1691, it issued an additional £40,000 of notes. These notes were used to pay all of the colony’s debts.[5] Along with this issuance came the promise to issue no more notes. The notes immediately depreciated to 12 or 14 shillings in the pound[6] (one pound equals 20 shillings). Thus, the soldiers, who had received the notes at par, were cheated out of two-fifths of their real pay. Naturally, the government blamed the people for its notes depreciating.

The notes circulated poorly until tax time approached. Then people sought them to pay taxes. They could obtain them at a discount and use them to pay taxes at par.

To force its notes to circulate, Massachusetts made its notes legal tender for all payments in 1692. It accepted them in payment of taxes at a 5 percent premium.[7] Furthermore, it promised to redeem its notes in twelve months. By that action, it attempted to make its notes equal to silver.

Until 1704, the government redeemed its notes each year. The redemption kept the notes at or near par with silver. These early notes essentially functioned as bills of anticipation of taxes. However, new notes quickly replaced the redeemed notes.

The promise not to issue additional notes, the government did not keep. It continued to issue notes with a promise to pay each new issuance in silver in a year. However, it kept delaying payment. Then it began extending the time for redemption. ". . . in 1704 the time for redemption was extended to two years, in 1709 to four years, in 1710 to five years, in 1711 to six years, and later [1722[8]] to thirteen years."[9]

These delays in redemption caused the people to resist taxation not only to pay the outstanding notes, but also to pay current expenditures. During the next several years more notes were issued: 1706, £10,000; 1707, £22,000; 1708, £10,000; 1709, £60,000; 1710, £40,000.[10]

In 1711, Massachusetts issued £500,000 in notes to pay for another failed pillaging of Quebec during Queen Anne’s War. Before this issuance, the Massachusetts note had stabilized around seven shillings to an ounce of silver. With this issuance, Massachusetts notes fell to nine shillings per ounce of silver.[11]

The notes of 1711 differed from the earlier issues. The earlier notes were based on public credit and secured by the pledge of taxes. Massachusetts issued the notes of 1711 to Boston merchants to enable them to obtain material for the war.[12]

By 1714, Massachusetts was again discussing how to overcome its shortage of money. It had succeeded in driving silver from the colony and leaving behind a pile of depreciating government notes. Instead of deciding how to reduce the quantity of government notes and to bring silver coins back to the colony, the people debated the best way to issue more paper money.

The government decided to establish a public land bank to issue legal tender notes. The land bank printed and lent paper money to buy land. Land purchased with the notes secured the loan.

In 1714, £50,000 in notes or loan bills were issued and lent for real estate security. The borrowers paid 5-percent interest and paid off the loan at the rate of one-fifth per year for five years. The government did not obligate itself to redeem these notes with tax receipts. It also got the interest to spend without any outlay of capital.[13]

In 1716, the land bank issued £100,000 in notes. This issuance increased the colony’s money supply by 40 percent.[14] The value of Massachusetts notes quickly dropped, and prices rapidly rose.

In 1721 and 1728, the land bank issued more notes and brought the total notes that it had issued to £260,000.[15] Its notes were in addition to the notes that the government had issued earlier.

People who received loans from the land bank benefitted at the expense of the other people in the community. Borrowers spent their notes on goods and services before prices rose. With their loans, they got control of things in the community and with lower rates than others had to pay. (The interest on loans from the land bank was below the market rate.) As their borrowing removed capital from the loan market, they caused interest rates for other loans to rise. Thus, public loans caused the interest rate for private loans to rise. (Interest rates rose for two reasons: (1) withdrawal of loadable capital and (2) fear of currency depreciation.)[16]

The land bank lent money mostly to buy land. Land secured the loan. Most members of the legislature were land owners. They were in effect using the land bank that they created to buy land with loans that carried below market interest rates. They lent themselves newly printed notes.

To increase the value of its money, the government began reducing the notes in circulation. Notes used to repay loans were retired.

Unfortunately, for Massachusetts, it was obliged to honor legal tender notes issued in the other New England colonies. By now, other colonies had acquired Massachusetts’ habit of printing legal tender government notes. Thus, the value of paper money continued to decline.

In 1720, the government dropped the 5 percent tax paying premium. The premium had long failed to keep its notes at par.

As money depreciated, people began to demand the issuance of even more paper money. In 1721, Massachusetts issued another £50,000.[17]

To overcome the depreciation of its currency, the government fixed the value of silver in terms of its notes for payment of previous obligations. The value of silver varied with the year of the contract.

Under pressure of the King, whom creditors were pressuring demanding sound money in the colonies, the royal governor of Massachusetts reduced the notes in circulation by half. He limited the issuance of new notes to £30,000 per year, and these notes had to be paid (redeemed) in a year.[18]

However, the governor’s actions did not stop the inflation. Rhode Island was on a binge of paper money printing, and its money was honored in Massachusetts. Thus, Massachusetts notes fell to 19 shillings per ounce of silver in 1733. By the late 1730s, they had depreciated to 27 shillings per ounce.[19]

In 1739, the King demanded reducing the quantity of notes and redeeming them by a specific date. The £250,000 of notes in circulation had to be reduced to the £30,000 limit by 1741.[20]

To circumvent this order, some wealthy merchants established a private land bank that made loans for real and personal property. It issued more than £49,000 in notes redeemable in nothing. Not being legal tender, most people refused to accept the private land bank’s notes. Later that year (1741), Parliament outlawed land banks in Massachusetts.

Another war with France, King George’s War, and another invasion of Canada lead to another issue of government notes. By 1744, £300,000 of Massachusetts notes were outstanding. The quantity rose to nearly £2.5 million in 1748. Massachusetts notes depreciated to 60 schillings to an ounce of silver.[21] When the limit on the quantity of new notes fell, so did the promise to redeem them within a year. Now the government pledged to redeem them in 25 years from issuance.

By 1750, the value of the Massachusetts note had depreciated so much that £11 in Massachusetts notes exchanged for £1 sterling or a lost of more than 90 percent.[22] When Massachusetts began its adventure into the perfect monetary system of government notes in the 1690s, the exchange rate was at par.

To increase the value of its money, the government began retiring its notes. Between 1702 and 1750, Massachusetts had issued £4,634,700 in notes. It retired £2,814,900 of them, leaving £1,819,800 outstanding.[23]

After King George’s War, Parliament gave Massachusetts 653,000 ounces of silver and 10 tons of copper,[24] to reimburse it for its war expenditures. Massachusetts used this money to redeem its paper money at its current rate of 7½ to 1.[25] Thus, it returned to specie by canceling most of the face value of its outstanding notes.

Paper money adherents predicted that redemption would remove most of the money from the colony and that it would be disastrous. After a short adjustment, prices fell and trade and production increased. Specie flowed into the colony. John Adams noted that when Massachusetts paper money ceased circulating in 1750, "a silver currency taking its place immediately, and supplying every necessity and every convenience."[26]

In 1751, Parliament forbad all further issues of legal tender notes in New England. This prohibition had little effect Massachusetts because it had already returned to specie. Nevertheless, its agent in London remonstrated against the act.

With its legal tender notes, the Massachusetts government succeeded in driving silver money out to the colony or into hiding. "In 1690, before the orgy of paper began, 200,000 pounds of silver money were available in New England; by 1714, 240,000 pounds of paper money had been issued in New England but the silver had disappeared from circulation."[27] Massachusetts’ inferior paper notes displaced superior silver coins.

About Massachusetts notes driving silver money out of circulation, one person wrote around 1720, "As to silver and gold we never had much of it in the country; but we can very well remember, that before we had paper money, there was a sufficiency of it current in the country, and as the bills of credit came in and multiplied, the silver ceased and was gone."[28]

About the depreciation of the Massachusetts note, Rothbard wrote, "If the original par between sterling and the dollar is taken as 100, then sterling in Massachusetts was down to 133 in 1702 (one dollar equaling six shillings). By 1740, Massachusetts sterling had depreciated to 550, and by 1750 to 1,100—a depreciation of 11 to 1 compared with par."[29]

Massachusetts notes were "merely a forced credit with no other security than the good-will and the chance of future prosperity of the government."[30]

Still, people demanded paper money. The Massachusetts government began issuing interest-bearing treasury notes in 1755 for borrowed money. These notes were not legal tender. Nevertheless, people used them as a medium of exchange.

Besides the government of Massachusetts, the biggest winners from Massachusetts notes were the large debtors, who generally were wealthy merchants, and speculators. The losers included nondebtors, lenders, people on fixed income, charitable endowments, and laborers.

Massachusetts legal tender notes caused all sorts of distress and demoralized the people. They wiped out the inheritance of orphans and the savings of the elderly. Trustees and executives who held other people’s money often delayed payment as delay enabled them to pay with cheaper money. Thus, they devoured widows’ houses.[31]

As usual, laborers lost from the inflation (currency depreciation). Their wages lag inflation. In 1712, when the Massachusetts note was worth eight shillings per ounce of silver, the average laborer earned five shillings per day. In 1730, an ounce of silver was worth 29 shillings in Massachusetts notes while the average laborer received only 12 shillings a day. Thus, prices as represented by silver rose 3.5 times while wages roes only 2.5 times.[32]

Massachusetts Judge Seawall remarked, "The diminution of the value of the bills of public credit, is the cause of much oppression in the Province."[33]

As with all fiat paper money issued by governments, Massachusetts’ paper money led to corruption. One pamphleteer wrote in 1743 that these government notes issued on loans "to themselves, Members of the Legislature, and to other Borrowers, their Friends, at easy and fallacious Lays, to be repaid at very long Periods; and by their provincial Laws made a Tender in all Contracts, Trade and Business, whereby Currencies, various and illegal, have been introduced which from their continued and depreciated nature in the Course of many Years have much oppressed Widows and Orphans and all other Creditors."[34] The perfect money was more of a curse than a blessing.

Being legal tender irredeemable government notes, Massachusetts notes destroyed capital. They destroyed the incentive to save, which provides the capital needed for industry. The value of currency continuously changed and trended downward.

As money, the Massachusetts note was of poor quality. It did function as a medium of exchange although a poor medium of exchange. However, it lacked or poorly provided the other services of money. As a store of value, it was a failure. It also functioned poorly as a measure of value since its value frequently changed, usually downward.

Contrary to what fiat money reformers claim, Massachusetts prospered more after it abandoned legal tender government notes than it did while it was issuing them.[35]

Although the colonists seldom objected to following the mother country in her follies, especially wars, they objected strongly when she halted their worst folly—the issue of paper money. A cause of the American Revolution was the British government’s forbidding the colonies to issue legal tender paper money after 1751 for New England and 1764 for the other colonies.

Massachusetts’ experience has been repeated many times since. Fiat money adherents never learn anything from history. Fiat money losses value whether issued by governments or bankers.

When fiat money loses value (purchasing power), fiat money advocates hunt for someone to blame. That someone is usually the banker. The problem is never with fiat money itself. The Massachusetts fiasco could hardly be blamed on bankers. It was governmental from beginning to end. If it were not, fiat money reformers would not cite it as a classic example to follow. They would not consider it the perfect money.[36]

Fiat money is like a narcotic. Once it infects a person, he has difficulty in abandoning it. Even after the fiat money adherent suffers from the destructive effects of fiat money, he wants more. Like the drug addict, he sees the solution to the pain as a larger dose. Yet the next greater issue of fiat money leads to more economic pain. Like the drug addict, he has great difficulty in abandoning the cause of his problems, He remains caught in a vicious whirlpool of ever depreciating currency as he demands ever more money to be issued.

Contrary to what fiat money reformers claim, Massachusetts’ paper money was disastrous. It did postpone levying taxes. However, it caused economic havoc. Massachusetts succeeded in quickly debasing its money.The following table shows the lost of purchasing power of Massachusetts notes. Silver is used as a proxy for general prices.

The increase in the price of silver in Massachusetts notes is a good approximation of the increase in general prices for two reasons. First, silver was the standard money. Second, imports from outside New England had to be paid for with silver as Massachusetts notes had no value outside New England.




Endnotes

1. Charles S. Norburn, Honest Money: The United States Note (Fletcher: New Puritan Library, 1983), pp. 8-9, 125-126.
2. Norburn, p. 126.
3. Frank Fenwick Mcleod "The History of Fiat Money and Currency Inflation in New England from 1620 to 1789," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 12 (Sept. 1898), p. 61, http://www.dinsdoc.com/mcleod-1.htm, Apr. 23, 2008. Davis Rich Dewey, Financial History of the Untied States (8th ed., 1922, rpt; New York: Elibron Classic, 2005), pp. 21-22. Murray N. Rothbard, Conceived in Liberty, II, "Salutary Neglect": The American Colonies in the First Half of the 18th Century (New Rochelle: Arlington House Publishers, 1975), p. 130. Horace White, Money and Banking (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1896), p. 120.
4. Mcleod, p. 61.
5. Dewey, p. 21. Rothbard, p. 131.
6. White, p. 120.
7. Mcleod, p. 62. Rothbard, p. 131. White, pp. 120-121.
8. Rothbard, p. 131.
9. Dewey, p. 23.
10. Mcleod, p. 63.
11. Rothbard, p. 132.
12. Dewey, p. 23. Rothbard, p. 132.
13. Dewey, p. 23. Mcleod, pp. 65-66.
14. Rothbard, p. 132.
15. Dewey, p. 23.
16. White, pp. 131-132.
17. Rothbard, p. 133.
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid., p. 135.
21. Ibid., p. 137.
22. Dewey, p. 28. White, p. 123.
23. Dewey, p. 29.
24. Mcleod, p. 74.
25. Dewey, p. 29. Rothbard, p. 137.
26. William Brough, The Natural Law of Money (1909, rpt.; New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005) p. 86.
27. Rothbard, pp. 131-132.
28. Mcleod, p. 69.
29. Rothbard, p. 137.
30. Mcleod, p. 64.
31. White, p. 130.
32. Rothbard, p. 135.
33. Mcleod, p. 71.
34. White, p. 123.
35. Mcleod, p. 76.
36. Norburn, p. 8.

Copyright © 2009 by Thomas Coley Allen. 

More articles on money.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Early Church Theories of Christ

Early Church Theories of Christ
Thomas Allen


What follows is a catalogue of some of the early (first five centuries) church sects and their beliefs or theories about Christ and his nature. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Most of these sects have been condemned as heresies although some of their beliefs can be found in well-established churches today. Heresy does mean that it is wrong. It means that the church people with the most political power disagreed with them and, therefore, condemned them. Occasionally, the civil authority favored some of these condemned sects, so they could continue to practice. When their protector died and was replaced by an adherent of the orthodox (consensus or majority) position, the condemned sect was suppressed and often persecuted. Overall, when the civil authority favored orthodoxy, the orthodox seemed more incline to persecute the heretics than the heretics did the orthodox when the civil authority favored the heresy.

When discussing theories of Christ or any other theological doctrine, one needs to keep in mind Virgil Vaduva’s admonition: "There is no such thing as consensus theology. If it’s consensus, it isn't theology. If it's theology, it isn't consensus. Period."[1] Because the consensus of orthodoxy is that Trinitarianism is the correct theory of Christ does not make it correct or incorrect. Consensus should be irrelevant. If anything, the consensus should cause one to be skeptical because the majority is usually wrong.

Most of what is known about some of these sects has been written by their enemies. As many of the following theories not only conflict with orthodoxy, they also conflict with each other, some of them must be wrong. All of them including orthodox Trinitarianism may be wrong.

The book of John is a favorite for deriving theories about Christ. It is used to defend nearly every theory from orthodox Trinitarianism to the wildest Gnosticism.

These theories, including orthodoxy (Trinitarianism), seem to be short on Scriptural support and long on Greek, Persian, or Babylonian philosophy. The theorists appear to have started with the theory and emphasized any Scripture that supported it and disregarded or explained away any Scripture that conflicted with it.

AdoptionistsAdoptionism or Dynamic Monarchianism is a form of Monarchianism. It appeared in the second and third centuries.

Monarchianism was an attempt to reinforce monotheism and was a rejection of Trinitarianism. It stressed the unity of God; only God was the deity.

"The Adoptionists taught that Christ, although of miraculous birth, was a mere man until his baptism when the Holy Spirit made him the Son of God by adoption."[2] Thus, Jesus was "a mere man who was endowed with the Holy Spirit."[3] The man Jesus is the adopted son of God. "Adoptionism defined God to be a single unity, while Jesus Christ was of divine nature only temporarily, for the period his mission lasted. Jesus [w]as a human being possessed by a spiritual entity. This possession, or spiritual adoption, happened either at the time of Jesus’ baptism or his ascension. He was the Son of God by the virtues of his high degree of divine wisdom and power."[4]

Adoptionism reappeared in the eight century and survives today in Unitarian theology.

Amonoeans
Amonoeans were followers of a form of Arianism taught by Aetius.

Amonoeans "made a clear distinction between God and Christ. God was the deity that always had existed, Christ was only created by him. From this, God and Christ could not be considered equal or similar. In consequence, Christ was also denied the consubstantiality, that of two natures in him; a human and a divine."[5]

The Amonoean movement appeared in the 350s and died out soon after 394. In 359, the Arian Counsel of Seleucia condemned Aetius’ doctrine.

AriansThe Arians were followers of Arius (c. 259–c. 336), a presbyter of a church in Alexandria circa 315. Arians believed "that the Son of God was totally and essentially distinct from the Father; that he was the first and noblest of those beings whom God had created—the instrument, by whose subordinate operation he formed the universe; and, therefore, inferior to the Father both in nature and dignity. . . ."[6] The son was the Word, but he was not eternal. Although the Son was divine and like the Father, the Father created him. Trinitarians hold that the Son is coeternal with the Father. Whereas Trinitarians claim that the Father and Son are of one and same substance and being; Arians claim that he is of like substance. ". . . Christ had nothing of man in him but the flesh, to which the . . . word was joined, which is the same as the soul in us."[7]

". . . the Holy Ghost was not God, but created by the power of the Son."[8]

1 Corinthians 8:6, which states that God and Jesus have two different qualities and positions, supports Arianism. The Arian concept of the Messiah is much nearer to the Jewish concept than is the Trinitarian concept.[9]

"Arianism was therefore dealing mainly with the question of the oneness of God as well as to immutability of God; Jesus went through the cycles of a human being, including both a normal birth and death, and he was also of a different matter than God. Hence it could be derived that Jesus was a mere human being."[10]

A later variant called Lower Arianism, held "that Christ pre-existed; but not as the eternal Logos of the Father, or as the being by whom he made the worlds, and had intercourse with the patriarchs, or as having any certain rank or employment whatever in the divine dispensation."[11]

In 325, the Council of Nicaea condemned Arianism. With the conversion of the Franks to Catholicism in 496, Arianism died.

Armenians
The Armenian church was founded at the end of the third century. Armenians believe that Christ has only one nature, a divine nature. Thus, they adhered to Monophysitism (q.v.). The Holy Spirit emanates from the Father only. The Armenian religion is still practiced today.

BasilidianistsIn the second century, Basilides, an Egyptian Gnostic, founded the Basilidianism. Basilidians believed in "the existence of one supreme God, perfect in goodness and wisdom, who produced from his own substance seven beings, or aions, of a most excellent nature."[12] From them came angels and heavens, various ranks and orders, and finally earth and animal life. Angels of the lowest heaven began to corrupt man and to erase knowledge of the Supreme Being, so that man would worship them. "Hence the Supreme God, beholding with compassion the miserable state of rational beings, who groaned under the contest of these jarring powers, sent from heaven his son Nus, or Christ, the chief of the aions, that, joined in a substantial union with the man Jesus, he might restore the knowledge of the Supreme God, destroy the empire of those angelic natures which presided over the world, and particularly that of the arrogant leader of the Jewish people. The God of the Jews, alarmed at this, sent forth his ministers to seize the man Jesus, and put him to death. They executed his commands; but their cruelty could not extend to Christ, against whom their efforts were vain."[13] Instead of Jesus being executed, Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus’ cross, was mistakenly executed. Jesus assumed the form of Simon, and Simon assumed the form of Jesus. After Simon’s crucifixion, Jesus returned to is Father.

CerinthiansCerinthians followed the teachings of Cerinthus, a Gnostic-Ebonite, of the first century. Cerinthians denied the deity of Jesus Christ. "They believed that he was a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary; but that in his baptism a celestial virtue descended on him in the form of a dove; by means whereof he was consecrated by the Holy Spirit, made Christ, and wrought so many miracles; that, as he received it from heaven, it quitted him after his passion, and returned to the place whence it came; so that Jesus, whom they called a pure man, really died and rose again; but that Christ, who was distinguished from Jesus, did not suffer at all."[14]

DocetistsDocetism or Docetae is related to Gnosticism. It appeared early enough for John to describe it in his letters (1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7). Docetists believed "that Jesus Christ had appeared as a phantom form, that he had not had a real or natural body, and that his crucifixion had only been an illusion. . . . Consequently, Christ's resurrection and ascension into heaven were denied."[15] Thus, ". . . Christ only ‘appeared’ or ‘seemed[’] to be a man, to have been born, to have lived and suffered. Some denied the reality of Christ's human nature altogether, some only the reality of His human body or of His birth or death."[16]

EbionitesThe Ebionite sect, which was a branch of the Nazarenes, appeared in the second century. Ebionites objected to the deification of Jesus and denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, his pre-existence, and his virginal birth. Furthermore, they observed Jewish law, rejected Paul as an apostle, and used only the Gospel of Matthew.

EuchitesEuchites, also called Messalians, appeared in the latter part of the fourth century. Their doctrine was similar to the Manichaeans (q.v.). They believed that the Holy Spirit existed within them and inspired and possessed them. Euchites believed that one or more demons inhabited every person. However, the Holy Spirit could replace these demons. Even Jesus’ body once had demons.

EunomiansA branch of the Arians called the Eunomians appeared in the fourth century (350–381) and vanished by the mid fifth century. Their name came from Eunominus, bishop of Cyzicus. They believed "‘There is one God, uncreated and without beginning; who has nothing existing before him, for nothing can exist before what is uncreated; nor with him, for what is uncreated must be one; nor in him, for God is a simple and uncompounded being. This one simple and eternal being is God, the creator and ordainer of all things: first, indeed, and principally of his only begotten Son; and then through him of all other things. For God begat, created, and made the Son only by his direct operation and power, before all things, and every other creature; not producing, however, any being like himself, or imparting any of his own proper substance to the Son; for God is immortal, uniform, indivisible; and therefore cannot communicate any part of his own proper substance to another. He alone is unbegotten; and it is impossible that any other being should be formed of an unbegotten substance. He did not use his own substance in begetting the Son, but his will only; nor did he beget him in the likeness of his substance, but according to his own good pleasure; he then created the Holy Spirit, the first and greatest of all spirits, by his own power, in deed and operation mediately; yet by the immediate power and operation of the Son. After the Holy Spirit, he created all other things, in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, corporeal and incorporeal, mediately by himself, by the power and operation of the Son, &c.’"[17]

EutychiansEutychianism appeared in the fifth century. Eutyches, a monk near Constantinople (Istanbul), is generally credited as the founder of this sect although the Eutychians did not claim him as a leader or founder. Eutyches developed his doctrine of Christ in opposition to the Nestorians (q.v.). He claimed that Christ had "‘only one nature, that of the incarnate Word,’ his human nature having been absorbed in a manner by his divine nature."[18] The divinity absorbed the humanity in Jesus.

Eutyches held "that nothing can be imposed as of faith which is not verbally to be found in Scripture."[19] (If theologians and civil leaders had held to this rule, much of the conflict and bloodshed over various theories of Christ would have been avoided, for they would not have traveled down the road of speculation.)

Eutychianism is closely related to Monophysitism (q.v.). However, some Monophysites condemned Eutyches.

"Strict Monophysitism, or Eutychianism, explains the one nature in Christ in one of four ways:
– the human nature is absorbed by the divine;
– the divine Word (Logos) disappears in the humanity of Christ;
– a unique third nature is created from the combination of the divine and human natures;
– or there is a composition (a natural whole) of humanity and divinity, without confusion."[20]

In 451, the Council of Chalcedon condemned the Eutychian doctrine. It declared that "‘in Christ two distinct natures are united in one person, and that without any change, mixture, or confusion.’"[21]

Eutyches’ doctrine of Christ as Jacob Baradaeus espoused it in the sixth century survives today in the Armenian (q.v.), Syrian Christian, Abyssinian and Copt churches.

GnosticsThe Gnostics existed before Jesus and attached themselves to Christianity soon after its beginnings. Gnostics held that only they possessed the true knowledge of Christ and Christianity. Unlike most other religions and sects that held salvation is through faith and works, Gnostics believe that salvation is through knowledge.

Gnosticism consisted of several pantheistic-idealistic sects. Included among them were the Basilidians (q.v.), Valentinians (q.v.), Simonians, Carpocratians, and Nicolaitans.

"The Gnostics considered Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and inferior to the Father, who comes into the world for the rescue and happiness of miserable mortals, oppressed by matter and evil beings; but they rejected our Lord’s humanity, on the principle that everything corporal is essentially and intrinsically evil; and therefore the greatest part of them denied the reality of his sufferings."[22] "Christ, the divine spirit, inhabited the body of the man Jesus and did not die on the cross but ascended to the divine realm from which he had come. The Gnostics thus rejected the atoning suffering and death of Christ and the resurrection of the body."[23]

Gnosticism peaked in the second century and had nearly vanished by the fifth century. Today, some form of Gnosticism appears in many new age religions.

LucianistsIn the second century, Lucianus (Lucanus), a disciple of Marcion found the Lucianists, or Lucanists. It was an offshoot of the Marcionites.

LuciferiansLuciferians appeared in the fourth century. They were followers of Lucifer, bishop of Cagliari. Luciferians believed the Nicene doctrine of three persons in the Godhead.

MacedoniansThe Macedonians, or Pneumatomachians, were a sect that appeared in the fourth century and lasted about 30 years. Macedonianism was based on the works of Macedonius and was similar to Arianism. In 381, the First Council of Constantinople condemned it.

Macedonians denied "the full personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was defined as created by the Son and was thus subordinate to both the Father and the Son. In this, the essence of Jesus Christ was understood as similar to that of God the Father."[24]

Manichaeans
Manichaeans derive their name from Mani (215/216–276/277), who was also known as Manes and Manichaeus, who founded the sect in the latter half of the third century. Manichaeans blended the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism with Christianity and added Babylonian folklore and Buddhist ethics. They believed "in two eternal principles, from which all things proceed, namely, light and darkness, which are respectively subject to the dominion of two beings, one the god of good, and the other the god of evil."[25] The god of darkness created man with corrupt and mortal bodies. However, the souls were part of the eternal light and, therefore, subject to the god of light. "[T]o deliver the captive souls of men from their corporal prisons,"[26] the god of light created Christ and the Holy Ghost. He "sent Christ into the world, clothed with the shadowy form of a human body and not with the real substance, to teach mortals how to deliver the rational soul from the corrupt body, and to overcome the power of malignant matter."[27] Manichaeanism was a Gnostic religion. It was a dualistic religion of pure reason.

Mani rejected the historical Jesus. "Jesus Christ was to Mani but an aeon or persistent personification of Light in the world. . . . Christ appeared to be man, to live, suffer, and die to symbolize the light suffering in this world."[28]

Christ’s promise of the Comforter given in John 16:7-5, Manichaeans believed was fulfilled in the person of Mani.

By the sixth century, Manichaeanism had died out in the West. In the East, it survived until the thirteenth century.

MarcionitesMarcionites appeared in the second and third centuries. Marcion (c. 110–?), a priest from Sinope, founded this sect in 144. He applied "the old Oriental belief of two independent, eternal, co-existing principles, one evil and the other good,"[29] to Christianity. The God of the Old Testament was the bad god and the God of the New Testament was the good god. Man’s soul came from the good principle. However, the evil genius created his body and the whole visible world. This evil strived to keep man’s spiritual nature imprisoned to make the soul forget its pure and noble nature. Marcionites believed ". . . that the law of Moses, with its threats and promises of things terrestrial, was a contrivance of the evil principle in order to bind man still more to the earth; but the good principle, in order to dissipate these delusions, sent Jesus Christ, a pure emanation of itself, giving him a corporal appearance and a semblance of bodily form, in order to remind men of their intellectual nature, and that they cannot expect to find happiness until they are reunited to the principle of good from which they are derived."[30] Marcion rejected the Old Testament, so Christ was not the Son of the God of the Old Testament. He was the Son of the good God, who was not the God of the ancient covenant. God reveals Himself in Christ, who is the Son of God and is also God. Christ is God manifested instead of God incarnate. Thus, "the god of the New Testament was one of goodness who had no relation with this world, and had not acted in any way in its creation. . . . [He] sent Christ out of pure kindness, aiming at saving humans from the material world and to reveal the truth about existence. The crucifixion of Christ was an act that untied the human link to the creator god, setting him free and into a relation to the good god. Salvation was to help to [sic] soul free itself from the body."[31]

"Marcionism deviates from pure tenets of Gnosticism, in which the soul is created parallel to the material world and by the same deity. Also, contrary to pure Gnosticism's emphasis on knowledge and insight, Marcionism promotes faith as the central instrument in the redemption of the human soul. While Gnosticism largely were orientations reserved [for] the privileged, Marcionism was an open orientation promoting a message intelligible to the large masses."[32]

Marcionism was a Gnostic sect and was similar to Docetism (q.v.). In 325, the First Council of Nicaea condemned it.

Monophysites
Monophysites were followers of Severus, a monk of Palestine and later patriarch of Antioch, and Petrus Fullensis. They believed that Christ had one nature, a divine nature. ". . . the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ were so united as to form only one nature, yet without any change, confusion, or mixture of natures."[33]

In 680/681, the Sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople condemned Monophysitism and the Monophysites.

The Monophysite doctrine appears today in the Armenian Orthodox (q.v.), Syrian Orthodox, Copt and Abyssinian churches.

NestoriansThe Nestorians appeared in the fifth century. Nestorians take their name from Nestorius (d.c. 451) of Syria, bishop of Constantinople. Nestorians believe "‘that the divine nature was not incarnate in, but only attendant on, Jesus, being superadded to his human nature after the latter was formed.’"[34]

Nestorius disavowed this doctrine. He "held that Christ's human nature was complete but was conjoined with the Word by an external union."[35] He believed "that the divine Word was united to the human nature in Jesus Christ in the most strict and intimate sense possible; that these two natures, in this state of union, made but one Christ and one person; that the properties of the Divine and human natures may both be attributed to this person; and that Jesus Christ may be said to have been born of a virgin, to have suffered and died, but he never would admit that God could be said to have been born, to have suffered, or to have died."[36] Thus, two persons, human and divine, are incarnated in Jesus Christ. These two acted as one, but they were not joined together. Christ’s human nature, but not his divine nature, suffered and died.

They also held that Mary is not the mother of God. She was the mother of Jesus only in his humanity. His divine nature came from his father. (If, as Trinitarians claim, Jesus is God and Mary is his mother, then logically Mary is the Mother of God. Logically, the Catholics are right and the rest of orthodoxy that rejects her as the Mother of God are wrong.)

Barsumas, bishop of Nisibis, became the most zealous and successful Nestorian. "He differed considerably from Nestorius, holding that there are two persons in Jesus Christ, as well as the Virgin was not his mother as God, but only as man."[37]

In 431, the Council of Ephesus condemned Nestorius. The Council of Chalcedon reaffirmed the condemnation of Nestorianism in 451.

The Nestorian belief is still held in today primarily in western Asia in a highly modified form.

OrigenistsOrigenism appeared in the third century. The Origenists were followers of the teachings of Origen (185–253/254), who was a presbyter of Alexander.

"Origen attempted to synthesize Christian scriptural interpretation and belief with Greek philosophy, especially Neoplatonism and Stoicism."[38] He believed, "That the soul of Christ was united to the Word before the incarnation. For the Scriptures teach us that the soul of the Messiah was created before the beginning of the world, Phil. ii. 5, 7. This text must be understood of Christ's human soul, because it is unusual to propound the Deity as an example of humility in Scripture. Though the humanity of Christ was so God-like, he emptied himself of this fulness of life and glory, to take upon him the form of a servant. It was this Messiah who conversed with the patriarchs under a human form; it was he who appeared to Moses upon the Holy Mount; it was he who spoke to the prophets under a visible appearance; and it is he who will at last come in triumph upon the clouds to restore the universe to its primitive splendor and felicity."[39]

In 553, The Council of Constantinople condemned Origenism.

PatripassiansPatripassionism or Modalistic Monarchianism is a form of Monarchianism. "The Patripassians believed in the divinity of Christ, but regarded the Trinity as three manifestations, or modes, of a single divine being. They taught that the Father had come to earth and suffered and died under the appearance of the Son; hence their name (Latin pater; patris,"father"; passus,"to suffer")."[40] Patripassians sought to defend monotheism against tritheism of orthodox Trinitarianism "by denying the personal distinctiveness of a divine Son and Holy Spirit in contrast to God the Father."[41] Patripassionism differs from Adoptionism in that it declares the full deity of the Son by identifying the Son as the Father himself.

Paulianists
In the third century, Paulus Samosatenus of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, founded the Paulianists. Paulianism was an advance form of Adoptionism. Paulianists believed "that the Son and the Holy Ghosts exist in God in the same manner as the faculties of reason and activity do in man; that Christ was born a mere man; but that the reason or wisdom of the Father descended into him, and by him wrought miracles upon earth, and instructed the nations; and, finally, that on account of this union of the Divine Word with the man Jesus, Christ might, though improperly, be called God."[42] "He depersonalized the Logos as simply the inherent rationality of God, . . . [and] denied the personal subsistence of the preincarnate Word."[43]

The Council of Nice condemned him in 269.

SabelliansIn the third and fourth centuries, a sect called the Sabellians appeared. They followed the teachings of Sabellius, a philosopher of Egypt. He taught "that there is but one person in the Godhead. . . . the Word and the Holy Spirit are only virtues, emanations, or functions of the Deity; and held that he who is in heaven is the Father of all things; that he descended into the Virgin, became a child, and was born of her as a son; and that having accomplished the mystery of our salvation; he diffused himself on the apostles in tongues of fire, and was then denominated the Holy Ghost."[44] ". . . God is three only in relation to the world, in so many ‘manifestations’ or ‘modes.’ The unity and identity of God are such that the Son of God did not exist before the incarnation; because the Father and the Son are thus one, the Father suffered with the Son in his passion and death."[45] "As Father it [Deity] revealed itself as Creator and Lawgiver. As Son it revealed itself as Redeemer. As Spirit it revealed itself as the giver of grace. These were three different modes revealing the same divine person."[46] Thus, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were not distinct persons or representations. God himself died on the cross. Sabellianism was a sophisticated form of Patripassionism.

Sabellians viewed Trinitarians as defectors from Christian monotheism. To support their doctrine, "Sabellianism points out that to God in the Bible, only the number One is ascribed. There is no mention of God being of the number Three."[47]

TrinitariansThe Trinitarians are the orthodox. They hold that the Godhead consists of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are distinct from each other. "Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: ‘the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.’ In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent."[48] First formed in the second century, the Trinitarian doctrine was finalized in the fourth century.

The following compares the basic theories of Christ as held by the Monophysites, Nestorians, and Trinitarians (Catholics and orthodox):

"Nestorians: One person, two hypostasis [personalities], two natures.
Catholics: One person, one hypostasis, two natures.
Monophysites: One person, one hypostasis, one nature."[49]

"Most modern Christian Theologians believe essentially this: That the One True God in Heaven Chose to share the human experience for 33 years; that He needed to make sure that all the other needs in the Universe were provided for during those years, so He needed to maintain a Presence in Heaven; that He wanted His human experience to be as ‘normal’ as was possible, so He arranged a Birth through Mary, and a childhood and early adulthood which did not include His (earthly) knowledge of Whom He really was (possibly through a Kenosis type ‘emptying’ of His Knowledge of His True Divinity) and that His earthly knowledge only learned of His True Divinity rather late in His human life. This situation resulted in His human existence, as Jesus, sometimes oddly asking His Own Divine existence, Whom He called Father, about various things."[50]

"The controversies between the Christians and the Jews concerning the Trinity centered for the most part about the problem whether the writers of the Old Testament bore witness to it or not, the Jews naturally rejecting every proof brought forward by their opponents."[51]

ValentiniansValentinians were Gnostic who followed Valentinus (d.c. 160). His teachings merged Christianity with Greek and Oriental speculation. Valentinianism survived into the fifth century.
"He assumed, as the beginning of all things, the Primal Being or Bythos, who after ages of silence and contemplation, gave rise to other beings by a process of emanation. The first series of beings, the aeons, were thirty in number, representing fifteen syzygies or pairs sexually complementary. Through the weakness and sin of Sophia, one of the lowest aeons, the lower world with its subjection to matter is brought into existence. Man, the highest being in the lower world, participates in both the psychic and the hylic (material) nature, and the work of redemption consists in freeing the higher, the spiritual, from its servitude to the lower. This was the word and mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit. . . . He seems to have maintained the existence of three redeeming beings, but Christ the Son of Mary did not have a real body and did not suffer."[52] Unlike most other Christian sects that fought over Christ’s two natures, Valentinians declared that Christ had three figures or dimensions: spiritual, psychic, and body.

[Editors note: The orignial contains an appendix of the ecumentical councils of the first five centuries and their declarations pertaining to Christ.]

Endnotes1. Virgil Vaduva, "Michael Crichton on Consensus," Dec. 9, 2006, http://blog.planetpreterist. com/index.php?query=Consensus&amount=0&blogid=3, Jul. 15, 2009.
2. C.A. Braising, "Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Patripassionism, Moralism," http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/monarchi.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
3. Ibid.
4. "Adoptionism," http://looklex.com/e.o/adoptionism.htm, Jul. 6, 2009.
5. "Amonoean" http://looklex.com/e.o/amonoean.htm. Jul. 6, 2009.
6. Vincent L. Milner, Religious Denominations of the World (Philadelphia: Bradley, Garretson & Co., 1872), p. 243.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Kaufmann Kohler and Samuel Krauss, "Arianism," Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906, 2002, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1757&letter=A&search=arian, Jul. 14, 2009.
10. "Arianism," http://looklex.com/e.o/arianism.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
11. Milner, pp. 214-215.
12. Ibid., p. 461.
13. Ibid., pp. 462.
14. Ibid., p. 442.
15. "Docetism," http://looklex.com/e.o/docetism.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
16. John Arendzen, "Docetae," The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05070c.htm, Jul. 12, 2009.
17. Milner, pp. 422-423.
18. Ibid., p. 330.
19. John Chapman, "Eutychianism," The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05633a.htm, Jul. 4, 2009 .
20. Agnes Cunningham,"Monophysitism," http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/monophys.htm. Jul. 5, 2009.
21. Milner, p. 331.
22. Ibid., p. 258.
23. Pheme Perkins, "Gnosticism," http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/gnostici.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
24. "Macedonianism," http://looklex.com/e.o/macedonianism.htm, Jul. 9, 2009.
25. Milner, p. 337.
26. Ibid.
27. Ibid.
28. John Arendzen, "Manich ism," The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09591a.htm, Jul. 4, 2009 .
29. Milner, p. 340.
30. Ibid.
31. "Marcionism," http://looklex.com/e.o/marcionism.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
32. Ibid.
33. Milner, p. 437.
34. Ibid., p. 330.
35. Reginald H Fuller, "Nestorianism, Nestorius." http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/nestoria.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
36. Milner, p. 472.
37. Ibid., p. 468.
38. Ross Mackenzie, "Origen," http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/origen.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
39. Milner, p. 412.
40. C.A. Braising, "Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Patripassionism, Moralism" http://mb-soft.com/ believe/txn/monarchi.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
41. Ibid.
42. Milner, p. 415.
43. C.A. Braising, "Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Patripassionism, Moralism" http://mb-soft.com/ believe/txn/monarchi.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
44. Milner, p. 444-445.
45. Agnes Cunningham, "Sabellianism," http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/sabellia.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
46. C.A. Braising, "Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Patripassionism, Moralism" http://mb-soft.com/ believe/txn/monarchi.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
47. "Sabellianism," http://looklex.com/e.o/sabellianism.htm, Jul. 6, 2009.
48. George Joyce, "The Blessed Trinity," The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 15, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
49. John Chapman, "Monophysites and Monophysitism." The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10489b.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
50. Langdon Gilkey, "Trinity, Godhead," http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/trinity.htm, Jul. 5, 2009.
51. Kaufmann Kohler and Samuel Krauss, "Trinity," Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906, 2002, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=338&letter=T&search=nestor, Jul. 14, 2009.
52. Patrick Healy, "Valentinus and Valentinians." The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 15, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15256a.htm, Jul. 4, 2009.

Copyright © 2009 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Question for Protectionists

Questions for Protectionists

Thomas Allen

To aid those who are not enamored with protectionism to better understand protectionism, advocates of protectionism need to justify protectionism by answering the following questions.
Since when did free trade require unaccountable international agencies like NAFTA and WTO to manage it?

Since when did free trade require one mandatory international codex after another to make it fair trade?

Since when did free trade require subsidizing domestic companies to build factories in other countries as the United States have been doing for decades?

Why do many protectionists claim that the U.S. Constitution authorizes, even commands, Congress to restrict and prevent imports? Where does the U.S. Constitution authorize or demand protectionism? Isn’t the power delegated to Congress to levy tariffs (duties) on imports for the purpose of raising income instead of protectionism? Isn’t it true that the more effective tariffs are at preventing imports, the less revenue they raise; and when tariffs are 100 percent effective at preventing imports, they raise no revenue? If not, why?

If protectionism, i.e., restrictions on trade, are beneficial, why did the American colonists object to the trade restrictions imposed by the British government? Why did they not demand more trade restrictions?

Was Lincoln’s protective tariffs worth the 600,000 lives lost to impose it? Why?

When one country trades another county I.O.U. nothings that can be repudiated any moment for useful tangible products, such as steel, computers, or televisions, who has received the greater value and who has the advantage?

If protectionism creates wealth, why not make the United States 50 times wealthier by creating 50 autarkic States?

If trade barriers at a country’s borders are desirable, shouldn’t internal trade barriers also be desirable? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

Why is the scarceness of goods that results from protectionism better than an abundance of goods?

How does a country benefit from having less? For example, without protectionism, a worker can exchange a day of labor for one domestically manufactured pair of shoes or two foreign manufactured pairs of shoes. Protectionism prevents him from buying the foreign shoes. How does he benefit from having one pair fewer shoes? How does the country benefit from having one pair fewer shoes?

Why should people be forced to work longer for the same quantity of goods, which is what protectionism does?

Why are high prices, which is the result of protectionism, preferable to low prices? Why do retirees and others on fixed income benefit more from high prices than from low prices as they must under protectionism? Is this just and why?

As the objective of protectionism is to keep prices high, shouldn’t the government do all that it can to stifle and even prohibit innovations that drive prices down? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

Why is "doing less with more," which is the outcome of protectionism, more desirable than "doing more with less," which is the natural inclination of mankind? Is not the objective of protectionism to direct resources from their most efficient use, "doing more with less," to less efficient use, "doing less with more"? If this is not protectionism objective, why is this the outcome of protectionism?

If a protectionist is going to be consistent, shouldn’t he seek to maximize his cost, labor, effort, and inefficiencies in his personal endeavors, which is what protectionism seeks to do for the country as a whole? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

Why should consumers be forced, ultimately under the penalty of death, to buy overpriced and often inferior products, which is what protectionism does?

Why should the government arbitrarily pick winners and losers in economic activities, which is what it does with protectionism?

Why should the government (politics) decide what the people are to buy as it does with protectionism, instead of letting the people themselves (economics) decide what to buy?

Is transferring wealth from the politically weak to the politically powerful, which is what protectionism does, just and desirable? Why?

Why should the interest of producers be placed above the interest of consumers, which is what protectionism does?

Economically, what is the difference between restricting the importation of iron and steel to benefit iron and steel producers and restricting sanitation to benefit hospitals, doctors, drug manufacturers, and undertakers?

Why should consumers be treated as though they are the property of producers and their politicians, which is what protectionism does?

Why are voluntary exchanges undesirable and in need of prohibition?

Why should freedom of exchange be allowed for some products but prohibited for others?

Why do protectionists consider that which is good for an individual, a family, a county, and a State to be an evil for the country? If not, shouldn’t they be advocating trade restrictions between families, counties, and States? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

Which is more important: the amount that a worker is paid, which is the focus of protectionism, or the amount that a worker can buy with his pay?

As protectionism prevents workers from exchanging their labor for the largest quantity of goods and services possible, how can protectionism be just? Is requiring workers to pay artificially higher prices, which protectionism causes, just, desirable, and beneficial to workers? Why?

Does a worker’s pay depend on the supply of and the demand for labor or on the prices of goods?

Why is erecting obstacles to the movement of goods, which is what protectionism does, much more desirable than diminishing and eliminating obstacles? If the erection of barriers to the movement of goods is desirable, shouldn’t the government do all that it can to erect obstacles to the movement of goods everywhere? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

Why should the government expend resources to remove natural barriers to trade such as building new roads and bridges while it is erecting artificial barriers such as protective tariffs? As the objective of protectionism is to prevent trade, why expend resources to improve trade?

What is the difference between reducing the supply of food with protectionism and reducing the supply of food by plowing under crops? If a protectionist believes that food should not be restricted, he needs to explain his bigotry against farmers and why farmers should be forced to pay higher prices for his supplies from protected industries.

If a farmer in Maine decides to grow coffee, shouldn’t Congress erect trade barriers to protect this new domestic industry from foreign imports? If not, why? Are some industries more worthy of protection than others? If so, why? Who decides, how do they decide, and why?

If the importation of products from Montreal is so injurious to the Chicago that they must be stopped or at least greatly restricted, as protectionism demands, wouldn’t the importation of products from New Orleans also be injurious to Chicago? Shouldn’t importations from New Orleans also be stopped or restricted? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

If, for example, tool manufacturers in Texas need protection from tool manufacturers in Brazil because Brazil subsidies its tool manufacturers, do tool manufacturers in Texas need protection from tool manufacturers in New York because New York subsidies its tool manufacturers? If not, why? Why the inconsistency? From the perspective of tool manufacturers in Texas what is the difference?

As exporting countries give gifts to importing countries when they subsidize their exports, why should such gifts be prohibited or taxed away? Doesn’t consistency demand prohibiting or taxing away all gifts including Christmas gifts and birthday gifts? If not, why? Why the inconsistency? Do not Christmas and birthday gifts reduce the productivity of the recipient by relieving the recipient of the need to work longer to acquire the gifts?

If protectionism is used to equalize the prices of foreign produced articles with domestically produced articles (this is a favorite argument of protectionists), shouldn’t the government require producers and sellers to sell all similar articles at the same price, preferably at the price of the highest producer or seller? If not, why? Why allow the inconsistency? Why should a competitive advantage be allowed in one case and not in the other?

If the country places restrictions in importation of goods to "equalize" the cost of regulations, taxes, labor, etc. shouldn’t States with high costs because of regulations, taxes, labor, etc. be allowed to restrict imports from States with lower costs? If they shouldn’t, why? Why the inconsistency?

If protectionism is needed to protect domestic workers from lower-waged foreign workers in another country, why isn’t protectionism need to protect domestic workers in a State from lower-wage workers in other States? Doesn’t consistency demand protection in both situations? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

If protectionism is needed to protect domestic workers from foreign workers, aren’t laws needed to protect workers from machines (mechanical labor) by forbidding labor saving machines? If not, why? Why the inconsistency?

If high-wage countries need protectionism to protect themselves from low-wage countries, why do low-wage countries enact protectionism to protect themselves from high-wage countries? Conversely, if low-wage countries need protectionism to protect themselves from high-wage countries, why do high-wage countries enact protectionism to protect themselves from low-wage countries?

If protectionism stimulates industry and promotes prosperity, shouldn’t communities that are the most isolated show the greatest advancements, progress, growth and prosperity? Why do they not?

If protectionism strengthens a country, why do countries, when they go to war, seek to prevent their enemies from importing goods? If protection strengthens a country, blockades, the ultimate form of protectionism, should make an enemy unbeatable shouldn’t they? If not, why? Does protectionism strengthen in one case, and in the other it weakens? If so, why ? Why the inconsistency?

If free trade weakens a country, when countries go to war shouldn’t they use their navies to open the enemy’s ports and dump goods there. Shouldn’t they use their air force to drop goods instead of bombs? As free trade, especially dumping goods below cost, destroys a country, shouldn’t dumping free goods bring down a country quicker and safer than the instruments of war? If not, why? Does free trade weaken a country in one case, and in the other it does not? If so, why? Why the inconsistency?

When has authoritarian political control of the economy, which is what protectionism is, ever been superior to freedom?

As protectionism is the heart of mercantilism, why do protectionists insist on continuing the antiquated and archaic mercantile system that all economists of merit have denounced for 200 years?

Copyright © 2009 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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