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Sir Emeth Mimetes
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PostSubject: Utilities   Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:19 am

Greetings,

We are all used to government having a monopoly on utilities like roads and etc. But is this biblical? Does it fit in with our definition of government's responsibilities? Is it necessary? It would be egotistic to a degree to say that legislators are the only ones who can organize something across a nation, and even evolutionary and socialistic if you want to think about it. My question is, do we need to justify government controlling utilities?

  • Is it biblical for government to control utilities?
  • Is it necessary?


With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:03 am

Greetings,

Well, as we have already established, the only purpose of the government is to really protect the nation. (And actually, I think I see a flaw in that. and someone else I know might have a problem with it too... Anyway, that's besides the point.)

Therefore, if the only purpose of the Government is to only protect the nation and reward those who do good, then Utilities is not within the jurisdiction of the Federal or State level government.

Also, I don't think it is necessary because if there is no free market, then the businesses who have a monopoly on the utilities can charge whatever they want. However, if we went to a competative market system, then the prices might be cheaper, and overall help the economy. What do the rest of you guys think?

I hope I completely addressed what you asked Jay. Very Happy

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:24 pm

Hard question. I can't say for sure how people would do making their own roads without government involvement, because there are no nations I know of that have such a system.confused Here's a link to an essay called I, pencil. I wonder if the point he's making could be applied to roads.
http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html#I,%20Pencil

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:49 am

Dr. H.,

I think that it can be applied, though in a roundabout way. Basically you do not need a mastermind with a sword forcing you to collaborate. The government is force, you can have an organization organizing things without that. It would be best if there were several competing, to keep quality up and cost down.

But I think that Peter had the idea right: can handling utilities fit into some category of crime?

with joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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caleb
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:53 am

Hard topic. I think that judges should be able to address developing technologies through case applications in instances where there are repeated scenarios involving the developing technology or customs threaten or harm citizens' life, liberty, or property. (Ex. traffic regulation to ensure public safety.)

In matters like building roads, I think that the government, through the necessity of logic, is required to take control. The road problem lies in the issue of private property. Whoever builds the road must first own the property on which the road is built. (I can't just go and make a road through my neighbor's front lawn.) If road construction was left to private businesses or individuals, those perspective parties would first need to buy the land where they wanted the road built. This presents several problems:

1. The cost of buying a strip of land would be to great for anyone to want to buy enough land to make a usefully long road that actually gets somewhere. Thus, you have a bunch of short roads.

2. In order for someone to even consider buying land to build a road, they would want to have a decent payoff or benefit. He won't just buy a strip of property so he can make a road that gets from his house to the grocery store. He would loose too much money. In order to make a profit from the investment, he would probably set up a toll for others to pay in order to use his road. Thus, in order to get anywhere, you have to pay a half dozen tariffs.

3. Roads would be chaotic and mismatched. If businesses were in charge of building all of the roads, they could only do so on property they owned. They would build the road up to the edge of their property. The neighboring business may not like where that road left off, but would rather have the road be somewhere else or go somewhere else. Thus, you either have a bunch of roads that don't go anywhere, or a bunch of roads that are so crazily laid out that it takes forever to get anywhere.

4. The cost to make a good road would discourage most private businesses from doing much more then clearing the grass to make a dirt road. After all, a dirt road is a hundred times easier and cheaper to make and maintain as an asphalt road. And hey, you can still drive on it. Thus, you have a bunch of rough roads, making travel less smooth and speedy.

Though, in theory, I can understand the argument about the jurisdiction of government and the importance of small business competition, I don't see the practicality of this argument. In the road situation, I do see a need for the government to take control. We may have to adjust our definition of the role of government slightly. Like I said, as far as other utilities involving developing technologies, I think that judges and case applications can take care of those.

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:04 am

Caleb,

You are annoying! Very Happy I keep trying to let all of you figure things out a little, and then coming in myself later on, but you keep forcing my hand! Alright, here goes.

I will first deal with my case for governments not building roads, and then I will deal with your five points afterwards. My case can be divided up into three points: 1) God does not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads, 2) those against God and His plans (the Communists) do, and 3) it is quite possible for good quality roads to be made without government intervention. I will now expand upon these three points (the last expansion being my refutation of your five points). I hope I do not get lost...

1) God does not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads.

This is easily evident from our definitions of crime and the purpose of government.

The sole purpose and function of government is to punish crime and give praise to those who work righteousness.

A crime is a breach of contract with fellow men or a sin against a fellow man, which includes violations of his life, liberty, and property without due process of law.

Building, controlling, or maintaining roads hardly falls into those categories. If you tried to say that it is a crime to not build roads, then you would also have to say that it is a crime to not sell oil and such like! Immediately you have a socialist government controlling the economy, dictating who does what and how: not Biblical by any means. Building roads is also very far from merely giving praise to those who work righteousness (however righteous building a good road might be). Am I missing something here? What do you think?

2) Those against God's and His plans do want “Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.”

The above quote is the sixth of the ten key planks of Karl Marx's plan for the creation of a communist, socialist state as outlined in his book, the Communist Manifesto. It is listed right there among other socialist dreams: things like a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax,” “Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes,” and “free education for all children in public schools.” Gun control also has a key place in his plan. This, aside even from what we have already concluded regarding the purpose of government, would persuade me to do everything in my power to avoid having government having anything to do with roads and communication. It seems too much like surrendering our liberties even before we have them. What do you think?

3) It is quite possible for good quality roads to be made without government intervention.

Although even learned economical scholars such as Adam Smith have disagreed on this point, I find the contrary position to be untenable when faced with the facts of good economics. When given liberty, the market has an amazing potential, quite beyond the dreams of socialist brainwashing (no offense). To demonstrate this as best as I am able, I will summarize Caleb's five points into two: 1) the free market cannot provide adequate funds for the creation of sufficient quality roads, and 2) the free market is unable to effectively organize the construction of roads over any large area. (If this is a misrepresentation, please inform me and I will adjust accordingly.) These two statements are, from what I see, assumptions without grounds, which I will demonstrate as follows.

1) The free market is more capable of financing good quality roads than the government.

This is a bold statement, but one which I believe can be safely made. Two things must be considered: start-up costs, and maintenance costs. First: start-up costs.

If you look at the top 100 financial entities in the world, including both nations and businesses, Hewlett Packard makes the list (and is not very close to the bottom, either). HP is not even, comparatively, a very large company! Organizations and financing companies are well able to handle the outlay necessary for the building of a road. The question is: do you want the money expended in the making of a road taken at people's good will and free choice (by shareholding), or at the point of a gun (which is what tax money is)?

Secondly: maintenance. Caleb complains of the necessity of tolls, and is justified in doing so, as tolls would in fact be the most natural way (that I know of) for companies to gain reimbursement for their outlay. However, as Adam Smith ably pointed out in his book, The Wealth of Nations, this is actually the best method for governments to do so as well. He recommends that a toll be levied on all roads owned by the state to defray their expenses in managing and building them, as it is the most even, just, equitable, non-invasive, cheap, economical, and effective means for doing so. And tolls are not, by any means with today's technology, so bad to pay (once you get used to it). Nowadays, you do not even have to stop to pay: you just drive through and they mail you a bill. If this becomes socially normal (or necessary), then people will invent ways to make them even more easy, efficient, and a better experience. Such as paying (at a discount) for a year for all road travel on a certain company's roads, etc.

2) The free market is more capable of efficiently organizing the construction of roads than the government.

Another bold statement. My foundation for this statement is a premise that I believe has been solidly shown to be secure: that which is advantageous for one person in an economy, and which is not criminal, is advantageous to the whole of that economy. This is nicely illustrated in a comical way by the article called “I, Pencil” linked to above. Does this apply to organizing roads? Of course.

What good would it do me to go to the great trouble and expense to build a road to where there are no people? Would it not be more advantageous for me to build a road from where people are, to where they want to go (hopefully me), and in the way they want? This is the basis of all market decisions anyways (do my costumers want maple or mint candies? It does not matter that I hate maple, for if they want maple, then I need to provide it or go out of business (this is a hypothetical example: I like maple)). If you have two companies across from each other, then they would like to share the expense of making a road as well as share in the benefits (even if they are competitors, perhaps especially if they are). It is a complex train of economical logic, but rest assured that at the end, it is the best for the companies and the communities to all figure out what the others want, and seek to out-serve each other in the creation of a road that they are all happy with.

Why is this better than the government doing it? Well, the government does not have as close of a connection to the money it expends. They do not have their livelihood at stake if they fail in being economical. Private companies do, and they have spent their lives making this sort of calculation and organization their profession. Government must needs be not only distanced from the question, but they must also be at a judgmental disadvantage, not having expertise in the area. Any questions?

I hope that made sense, I got confused a few times trying to write it...

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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caleb
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:53 pm

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

1) God does not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads.

This is easily evident from our definitions of crime and the purpose of government.

The sole purpose and function of government is to punish crime and give praise to those who work righteousness.

A crime is a breach of contract with fellow men or a sin against a fellow man, which includes violations of his life, liberty, and property without due process of law.

Building, controlling, or maintaining roads hardly falls into those categories. If you tried to say that it is a crime to not build roads, then you would also have to say that it is a crime to not sell oil and such like! Immediately you have a socialist government controlling the economy, dictating who does what and how: not Biblical by any means. Building roads is also very far from merely giving praise to those who work righteousness (however righteous building a good road might be). Am I missing something here? What do you think?

You make a pretty good argument here, except for the fact that God commanded the Israelite governmental leaders to build roads.

Deuteronomy 19:3- "Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither." (New King James translates this in language a little easier to understand when it says: "You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.")

The word in the Hebrew is 'derek' which is translated 'way' or 'road.' So if God commanded the Israel government (see context of passage) to build roads, then He couldn't "not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads."

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

2) Those against God's and His plans do want “Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.”

The above quote is the sixth of the ten key planks of Karl Marx's plan for the creation of a communist, socialist state as outlined in his book, the Communist Manifesto. It is listed right there among other socialist dreams: things like a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax,” “Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes,” and “free education for all children in public schools.” Gun control also has a key place in his plan. This, aside even from what we have already concluded regarding the purpose of government, would persuade me to do everything in my power to avoid having government having anything to do with roads and communication. It seems too much like surrendering our liberties even before we have them. What do you think?

Our founding fathers, men noted for the most part as being Christians or having a Biblical worldview which drove much of their political decision making, gave the government the power to post roads. (See the Constitution, article 1, section 8, number 7.) So it seems to me like those for God and His plans also want “Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state."

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

3) It is quite possible for good quality roads to be made without government intervention.

Although even learned economical scholars such as Adam Smith have disagreed on this point, I find the contrary position to be untenable when faced with the facts of good economics. When given liberty, the market has an amazing potential, quite beyond the dreams of socialist brainwashing (no offense). To demonstrate this as best as I am able, I will summarize Caleb's five points into two: 1) the free market cannot provide adequate funds for the creation of sufficient quality roads, and 2) the free market is unable to effectively organize the construction of roads over any large area. (If this is a misrepresentation, please inform me and I will adjust accordingly.) These two statements are, from what I see, assumptions without grounds, which I will demonstrate as follows.

1) The free market is more capable of financing good quality roads than the government.

This is a bold statement, but one which I believe can be safely made. Two things must be considered: start-up costs, and maintenance costs. First: start-up costs.

If you look at the top 100 financial entities in the world, including both nations and businesses, Hewlett Packard makes the list (and is not very close to the bottom, either). HP is not even, comparatively, a very large company! Organizations and financing companies are well able to handle the outlay necessary for the building of a road. The question is: do you want the money expended in the making of a road taken at people's good will and free choice (by shareholding), or at the point of a gun (which is what tax money is)?

I was unaware of the fact that Hewlett Packard constructed roads. I thought they just made computers, printers, electronics, and office supplies. Do they also make roads? If they do, are they contracted by the government to do so, or do they actually buy the land they build on? This would factor greatly in the cost efficiency for HP to build roads.

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

Secondly: maintenance. Caleb complains of the necessity of tolls, and is justified in doing so, as tolls would in fact be the most natural way (that I know of) for companies to gain reimbursement for their outlay. However, as Adam Smith ably pointed out in his book, The Wealth of Nations, this is actually the best method for governments to do so as well. He recommends that a toll be levied on all roads owned by the state to defray their expenses in managing and building them, as it is the most even, just, equitable, non-invasive, cheap, economical, and effective means for doing so. And tolls are not, by any means with today's technology, so bad to pay (once you get used to it). Nowadays, you do not even have to stop to pay: you just drive through and they mail you a bill. If this becomes socially normal (or necessary), then people will invent ways to make them even more easy, efficient, and a better experience. Such as paying (at a discount) for a year for all road travel on a certain company's roads, etc.


The problem here with private companies building the roads is that you run into the need for the government to still oversee or somewhat control things; hence the need for anti-trust laws and other laws against tycoons, industrial espionage, etc. which do, in fact, take away people's liberty and/or property.

I'm surprised you didn't bring up the example of the railroad industry. However, since I think it also supports my case, I'll do that. Throughout the 1800's and into the early 1900's, the railroad industry boomed across the entire nation. Dozens to maybe even hundreds of private companies were started up, laying down large expenses up front to build the thousands of mile of networking track. The owners and investors were willing to put a lot of money into the new industry up front, foreseeing the large payoffs that awaited them. The railroads (at least to my knowledge) were completely privately owned and funded. (There may have been a few tracks or projects that the government funded.) When done, you had the entire nation's worth of hundreds of different rail lines owned, operated, and maintained by private business enterprises.

Although this seems to support Jay's proposition entirely, what happened next causes me to still hold to my suggestion. The larger or wealthier railroad owners started to buy out other smaller railroads. They soon got the name 'Railroad Tycoon.' These tycoon's began to buy out more and more lines and raising the ticket prices or tariffs to use the lines. Soon the government had to intervene with anti-trust laws to put a stop to this tyranny against people's property (money) and liberty (use of public transportation or mail and shipping.) These laws have helped for the most part, but there are only a handful of different railroad line owners today than in the beginning (and prices are not as affordable as they once were.) I will say that the railroads are used more today than in any other time in history, but this can only be because prices have remained bearable thanks to the government's 'referee like' role in this industry.

I will say, however, that this is your best argument, Jay.

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

2) The free market is more capable of efficiently organizing the construction of roads than the government.

Another bold statement. My foundation for this statement is a premise that I believe has been solidly shown to be secure: that which is advantageous for one person in an economy, and which is not criminal, is advantageous to the whole of that economy. This is nicely illustrated in a comical way by the article called “I, Pencil” linked to above. Does this apply to organizing roads? Of course.

What good would it do me to go to the great trouble and expense to build a road to where there are no people? Would it not be more advantageous for me to build a road from where people are, to where they want to go (hopefully me), and in the way they want? This is the basis of all market decisions anyways (do my costumers want maple or mint candies? It does not matter that I hate maple, for if they want maple, then I need to provide it or go out of business (this is a hypothetical example: I like maple)). If you have two companies across from each other, then they would like to share the expense of making a road as well as share in the benefits (even if they are competitors, perhaps especially if they are). It is a complex train of economical logic, but rest assured that at the end, it is the best for the companies and the communities to all figure out what the others want, and seek to out-serve each other in the creation of a road that they are all happy with.

Why is this better than the government doing it? Well, the government does not have as close of a connection to the money it expends. They do not have their livelihood at stake if they fail in being economical. Private companies do, and they have spent their lives making this sort of calculation and organization their profession. Government must needs be not only distanced from the question, but they must also be at a judgmental disadvantage, not having expertise in the area. Any questions?

I hope that made sense, I got confused a few times trying to write it...

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Another good point, (probably your second best) but I imagine private companies cutting corners to reduce expenses and make a quicker profit. For instance, bridges or overpasses would be extremely expensive to make and also quite dangerous to cut corners on. Sure, companies could spend the extra money, time, and care to do a good job, but this will either result in higher tolls or a longer wait to gain money off of the project. (Something most businesses would rather not do.) Through taxes and maybe small tolls, the government can easily pay these expenses to do a good job every time. (Especially when you cut out most of the other spending we see such as health care and other programs.)

Finally, let me remind you that roads (more specifically, interstates) were made originally for the military. When Eisenhower was in the Army, he had to take an army caravan across the nation on the highways. It took far too long than was safe and efficient. When he became president, he started the interstate program. This allowed the military to move much more efficiently throughout the nation. (Something they still do.) Like many other military inventions, it was also made available to the public for which is primarily used now. So, they also can indirectly help move the military to protect the people.

I hope this all makes sense. I wrote it over a couple of days, and my mind's kind of foggy now. (That might make it easy to refute.)

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:23 am

caleb wrote:
Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

1) God does not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads.

This is easily evident from our definitions of crime and the purpose of government.

The sole purpose and function of government is to punish crime and give praise to those who work righteousness.

A crime is a breach of contract with fellow men or a sin against a fellow man, which includes violations of his life, liberty, and property without due process of law.

Building, controlling, or maintaining roads hardly falls into those categories. If you tried to say that it is a crime to not build roads, then you would also have to say that it is a crime to not sell oil and such like! Immediately you have a socialist government controlling the economy, dictating who does what and how: not Biblical by any means. Building roads is also very far from merely giving praise to those who work righteousness (however righteous building a good road might be). Am I missing something here? What do you think?

You make a pretty good argument here, except for the fact that God commanded the Israelite governmental leaders to build roads.

Deuteronomy 19:3- "Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither." (New King James translates this in language a little easier to understand when it says: "You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.")

The word in the Hebrew is 'derek' which is translated 'way' or 'road.' So if God commanded the Israel government (see context of passage) to build roads, then He couldn't "not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads."

Greetings,

I am only answering this part of your previous post at this time because the Biblical facet of this discussion is always more important than the economical one, which is what the rest of the post was about. If you prove that the Bible commands governments to oversee and finance and build roads, then it does not matter how much economical evidence I can bring up to show the foolhardiness of that plan, it must be done. Economical theories can be wrong, and so they always take second priority to Biblical exegesis. I will address your economical queries later, but right now I will focus on the Biblical aspect.

You cite a Biblical passage that appears to infer that God commanded the government of Israel to at least oversee, if not actually build the roads themselves. If this is true then we would need to study the context and discern the NT application of the principle involved just like with the rest of our discussions, which would take a long long time since it is wound up with the avenger of blood and capital punishment. But after an open minded research (l like those ones best), I discovered that that was not needed, thankfully. Smile

I studied the surrounding context, and the topical context both (both are crucially necessary to accurate Biblical studies). I discovered the following.

The actual phrasing of the passage you quoted does not require that those who erect (set up, establish, appoint) the way (road, course of life, mode of action) be the government itself, but the people of Israel. It is slightly ambiguous. So I went to go look at the Scripture that describes them choosing the cities of refuge (which is when the roads were to be planned and constructed).

Joshua 20
1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
3 That the slayer that killeth [any] person unawares [and] unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.
6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, [and] until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which [is] Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.
8 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.
9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth [any] person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.


(Sorry for quoting the whole chapter. It needed the context.)

This is where they actually carried out the command given by God in Deuteronomy 19. You will notice that it is the Lord speaking to Joshua, who is the government head of the nation. He tells Joshua to tell the children of Israel to choose out the cities and divisions of the nation. Then it describes them doing it. The passage does not even mention the princes, the elders, or the captains at all. It is always the people who are doing it. (Also remember that the injunction to build roads was only mentioned once that I am aware of.) So in the only time that building roads is mentioned, the people, not the government, are the ones who did it. Besides, the people are the best option anyways, because the government is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to organizing things like that.

Does that make sense? Or did I miss something?

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:06 pm

Here's a question: Is there only one way to do it? Does God command us to have governments that do or don't build roads? I think there might be a lot of issues in government where God isn't really concerned about exactly how or exactly what we do, as long as we're doing it for His glory and for the good of the people. (By "we" I mean the government, as run by Christians). It seems that the Bible (especially the New Testament) spends very little time talking about what government should and should not do. There's no place in the Bible where it says, "All governments should build roads" or "Tax money should never be used for roads." Either one might be a good or bad decision, but not necessarily a sin. If I were making a constitution right now, I would have the government stay out of roads and see how that goes. Then, if after some time, if there were no decent roads, and people couldn't get anywhere, I would have the government start to build roads. Perhaps God is glorified when we use the wisdom He has given us to decide on issues like roads, instead of having a clear command in scripture.

What do you think?

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:38 pm

Dr. Hipopotamo,

To some extent you are right, that the Bible doesn't directly addresses this issue, and that we could try trial and error. Though is this the best idea? However, trying one way is not necessarily wisdom, more just chancing it. Not wisdom in my view. (Though I think the rest will agree with me. Smile) And also, you are using the either-or logical fallacy. You only give two choices to the matter. Not so. Here are the choices that I see:

First, the government completely pays for it with the taxpayer's money. There are pros and cons to this, which I will not get into because of the time it would take.

Second, there are businesses that will control and make the roads, and the people could pay them to make roads as their communities seems fit.

Third, the people make the roads themselves as volunteer labor.

As you can see, there is at least more then two choices, and therefore cancels out your either-or fallacy because there are more then two options. Though there could be more choices, I don't know.

Jay,

If I am correct in reading your post correctly, do you propose that the people volunteer their time, money, and blood to make roads? Or are you suggesting that the people should hire others to make the roads?

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:53 am

Peter,
I see what you mean about there being more than one way to do it. If I was thinking of only two ways to do it, I was thinking more like this: either the government builds roads with taxpayers' money or the government does not build roads with taxpayers' money. This second option would likely mean that people would either set up private businesses to build and maintain roads or volunteer their time. My main point wasn't exactly how we do it, but that there may be more than one right way. If there is a Biblical command about how to handle roads, then by all means, obey it. But if there is not, then we should look at Biblical principles, history, and logistics in order to decide for ourselves how to do it. In this case there may be more than one correct way (although there may still be a best way).

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:04 am

Dr. Hipopotamo,

How about this one little question guiding our thoughts? "WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?"
God has not put a command for everything, or even alot of things, its normally what we glean from His word, and His Spirit.

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:04 am

Here is a rephrasing of the question before us that might help clear the waters:

"Does the Bible specifically mandate that governments not build roads?"

If it does, then it is the end of the conversation, because any further discussion would then be in the scope of LL2 and not this forum.

If it does not, then it is probably up to the decision of each nation to figure out how to go about making roads, which is also in the scope of LL2 and not this forum.

So.

If the Bible exclusively limits what the government can do, and building roads in no way fits into that description, then the Bible does mandate that governments not build roads. Make sense?

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May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:25 am

Yes it does. And sorry for going of track Jay. :(

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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:52 am

Peter G. wrote:
Yes it does. And sorry for going of track Jay. :(

In Christ,
Peter G.

No problem.

Does anyone want to write a conclusion post based on the studies posted above?

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May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:05 am

I will. Give me a little time though. Smile

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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:09 pm

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:
Here is a rephrasing of the question before us that might help clear the waters:

"Does the Bible specifically mandate that governments not build roads?"

Jay,
You make a good point about how there is one important question to answer. However, I would rephrase it to double question like this:

1) Does the Bible specifically mandate that governments build roads, and
2) Does the Bible specifically mandate that governments not build roads?

This would avoid the problem of ruling out the first possibility before asking the question.

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:
If it does, then it is the end of the conversation, because any further discussion would then be in the scope of LL2 and not this forum.

If it does not, then it is probably up to the decision of each nation to figure out how to go about making roads, which is also in the scope of LL2 and not this forum.

So.

If the Bible exclusively limits what the government can do, and building roads in no way fits into that description, then the Bible does mandate that governments not build roads. Make sense?


Are you thinking we'll discuss the question itself in LL2, or that we should discuss the question here and then once we have the answer, any further discussion is for LL2?

In Christ,
Daniel

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:35 am

I don't believe the Bible explicitly states that the government should not build roads. To get there, you have to use principles and inferences. I brought up a verse in which God did command that roads be built, however, the audience of that command and those who obeyed the command have been up for debate. I think that it would be safe to say that the Bible doesn't prohibit governments to build roads (or other such utilities) but the specifics of this topic should be left to LL2.

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:37 am

Greetings,

The specifics of the mechanisms for the construction of roads should indeed be left to LL2.

But the question of who ought to be burdened with the responsibility of their creation and maintenance lies here.

I know that this conclusion that I am pressing is hard to swallow. It flies in the face of all we have come to expect. People throughout the ages have assumed that government was to build and maintain roads, since it was the only feasible way that they saw to get it done. However, due to the preponderance of different means of transportation, the possibility is very present that government does not need to do it. Besides, God never planned for government to make roads.

Think of it as a grand experiment of faith and trust in God. Just like America and George Mueller.

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:16 pm

The sad thing is we should already be living with leaps of faith. But that's besides the point. Anyway, is not that its against what I believe, I just want evidence that shows that the government is or isn't supposed to make roads. And so far, no real evidence has been shown.

Only that its not within the government's description. However, the Bible does not directly address this, or really even indirectly. Therefore, we must come to the conclusion that it really is up to the wisdom that God by His Holy Spirit to let us know. Any disagreements?

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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:56 pm

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:
caleb wrote:
Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

1) God does not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads.

This is easily evident from our definitions of crime and the purpose of government.

The sole purpose and function of government is to punish crime and give praise to those who work righteousness.

A crime is a breach of contract with fellow men or a sin against a fellow man, which includes violations of his life, liberty, and property without due process of law.

Building, controlling, or maintaining roads hardly falls into those categories. If you tried to say that it is a crime to not build roads, then you would also have to say that it is a crime to not sell oil and such like! Immediately you have a socialist government controlling the economy, dictating who does what and how: not Biblical by any means. Building roads is also very far from merely giving praise to those who work righteousness (however righteous building a good road might be). Am I missing something here? What do you think?

You make a pretty good argument here, except for the fact that God commanded the Israelite governmental leaders to build roads.

Deuteronomy 19:3- "Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither." (New King James translates this in language a little easier to understand when it says: "You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.")

The word in the Hebrew is 'derek' which is translated 'way' or 'road.' So if God commanded the Israel government (see context of passage) to build roads, then He couldn't "not want governments to build, control, or maintain roads."

Greetings,

I am only answering this part of your previous post at this time because the Biblical facet of this discussion is always more important than the economical one, which is what the rest of the post was about. If you prove that the Bible commands governments to oversee and finance and build roads, then it does not matter how much economical evidence I can bring up to show the foolhardiness of that plan, it must be done. Economical theories can be wrong, and so they always take second priority to Biblical exegesis. I will address your economical queries later, but right now I will focus on the Biblical aspect.

You cite a Biblical passage that appears to infer that God commanded the government of Israel to at least oversee, if not actually build the roads themselves. If this is true then we would need to study the context and discern the NT application of the principle involved just like with the rest of our discussions, which would take a long long time since it is wound up with the avenger of blood and capital punishment. But after an open minded research (l like those ones best), I discovered that that was not needed, thankfully. Smile

I studied the surrounding context, and the topical context both (both are crucially necessary to accurate Biblical studies). I discovered the following.

The actual phrasing of the passage you quoted does not require that those who erect (set up, establish, appoint) the way (road, course of life, mode of action) be the government itself, but the people of Israel. It is slightly ambiguous. So I went to go look at the Scripture that describes them choosing the cities of refuge (which is when the roads were to be planned and constructed).

Joshua 20
1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
3 That the slayer that killeth [any] person unawares [and] unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.
6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, [and] until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which [is] Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.
8 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.
9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth [any] person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.


(Sorry for quoting the whole chapter. It needed the context.)

This is where they actually carried out the command given by God in Deuteronomy 19. You will notice that it is the Lord speaking to Joshua, who is the government head of the nation. He tells Joshua to tell the children of Israel to choose out the cities and divisions of the nation. Then it describes them doing it. The passage does not even mention the princes, the elders, or the captains at all. It is always the people who are doing it. (Also remember that the injunction to build roads was only mentioned once that I am aware of.) So in the only time that building roads is mentioned, the people, not the government, are the ones who did it. Besides, the people are the best option anyways, because the government is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to organizing things like that.

Does that make sense? Or did I miss something?

Jay,
It seems like, as you said, our conclusion about the purpose of government doesn't include roads. However, it's always possible that our conclusion was wrong or incomplete. It is not possible that the Bible is wrong, so I'll try to answer your comments on this passage in Joshua.

You say that God commanded the people, and not the government. It seems to me, though, that a good earthly government is in some way a representative of the people. In order for the people to appoint such cities, they would have to have representatives decide, which is a form of government, or vote on it themselves --also a form of government. I say these are forms of government because once the decision is made, all the people (even those who voted for another city) have to abide by it. Someone who accidentally kills a man couldn't flee to Bethlehem and be safe, even if he preferred that city. Thus, it was, in a sense, a government decision. So it could be said that this was a command for a government to appoint the cities (and then build the roads). Now, does this mean that all governments must build roads? I doubt it. But it could mean that governments do have authority to build roads, and other services when necessary. When is it necessary? That, I think, is up to the people and the writers of the constitution to decide.

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:11 pm

Well Daniel, we are the people deciding now. We are trying to write a "constitution". You basically just enforced what Jay has been saying. But that still doesn't completely address the topic at hand. Since we are deciding, we must choose a "side". We must show which is the correct side, and therefore, what is your "side"?

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:01 am

Peter G. wrote:
Well Daniel, we are the people deciding now. We are trying to write a "constitution". You basically just enforced what Jay has been saying. But that still doesn't completely address the topic at hand. Since we are deciding, we must choose a "side". We must show which is the correct side, and therefore, what is your "side"?

In Christ,
Peter G.

Peter,

I think Daniel made a good point here. To me, it seems like the context of this passage denotes that God commanded the governing body which represented the people to build the roads. I won't reiterate Daniel's argument, but I would agree with it. By the way, though I believe the government is responsible for building and maintaining roads (at least for right now) I don't think it would be wrong from private companies or individuals to also build roads. They could only do this, however, if they owned the land on which the road was being constructed.

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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:46 am

Peter G. wrote:

Only that its not within the government's description. However, the Bible does not directly address this, or really even indirectly. Therefore, we must come to the conclusion that it really is up to the wisdom that God by His Holy Spirit to let us know. Any disagreements?

In Christ,
Peter G.

Several. But for time's sake, I would like more clarification. You are all insisting that you see no evidence, and I cannot see how you are missing it. You are all asserting that there is nothing, but you are not refuting my logic or the Scripture that I use to found my logic. What am I missing?

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May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
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PostSubject: Re: Utilities   Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:01 am

Peter G. wrote:
Well Daniel, we are the people deciding now. We are trying to write a "constitution". You basically just enforced what Jay has been saying. But that still doesn't completely address the topic at hand. Since we are deciding, we must choose a "side". We must show which is the correct side, and therefore, what is your "side"?

In Christ,
Peter G.

It depends on what you mean. Why I'm trying to show is that there may be more than one correct side (if correct side means that going with any other side would be sin and tyranny), and we should try to find the better side (meaning that neither one is wrong but one may be easier or more convenient, etc). I would prefer to wait until we've decided whether or not there is one and only one "correct" side, before we discuss which side is "better". After all, if there's only one correct side, then it doesn't matter which side is better, we must obey God, but if we conclude that there is more than one correct way to do it, we can then discuss which of those ways is better, and while one side may be unwise, neither side is absolutely wrong, as it would be if the side violated Scripture. Then we could use logistics and history in our discussion, as well as Scriptural principles, but not Scriptural commands.

See what I mean, or am I missing something?

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