Tag Archives: Leo Tolstoy

In Honor of Leo Tolstoy

9/9/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today in 1828, Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, or Leo Tolstoy, as most have come to know the Russian writer, was born in Yasnaya Polyana, a few hundred miles south of Moscow.

The Kingdom of God is Within You
“The Kingdom of God is Within You”

While Tolstoy is best know for works such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina, it is important to note that Tolstoy’s later works on Christian Anarchist thought and non-violence (specifically, what is refered to as “peaceful non-resistance”) had a profound impact on Martin Luther King, Jr. and had a direct impact on Mahatma Ghandi.

"L.N.Tolstoy Prokudin-Gorsky" by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky - Журнал "Записки Русского технического общества", №8, 1908. Стр. 369. URL: http://prokudin-gorsky.org/arcs.php?lang=ru&photos_id=818&type=1. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L.N.Tolstoy_Prokudin-Gorsky.jpg#mediaviewer/File:L.N.Tolstoy_Prokudin-Gorsky.jpg
“L.N.Tolstoy Prokudin-Gorsky” by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky – Журнал “Записки Русского технического общества”, №8, 1908. Стр. 369. URL: http://prokudin-gorsky.org/arcs.php?lang=ru&photos_id=818&type=1. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L.N.Tolstoy_Prokudin-Gorsky.jpg#mediaviewer/File:L.N.Tolstoy_Prokudin-Gorsky.jpg

For anyone who is interested in truly achieving peace, his work The Kingdom of God is Within You is a must read.

Tolstoy’s influences included Victor Hugo, George Fox, William Penn.

In honor of Leo Tolstoy, we present links to our own works which have been inspired by Leo Tolstoy, whom Ghandi referred to as:

The greatest apostle of non-violence that the present age has produced

On the nature of Empire, Part II: The better way

The Catechism of Non-Resistance: Required reading for all human beings

What is Truth?  On the Nature of Empire

Atheism with Regards to Government

Join us in honoring Tolstoy and all of the peacemakers on this earth, for now, more than ever, our voices are needed! Go forth, and love your neighbor as you love yourself

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

On the nature of Empire, Part III: What is Truth?

9/10/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The distinction between the failed “Might makes right” mentality, which is the ideological base for all Empires, and what we have termed the better way, which can be summed up in the words of the Golden Rule:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” was made clear to all in an event that can only be adequately described as the flashpoint in human history, the moment which literally opened the possibility to choose the better way.

This critical moment is related for us in the Gospel of John, chapter 18, verses 37 and 38:

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?”retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

John 38: 17-18
a papyrus shroud containing the text of John 38: 17-18

For those unfamiliar with the scene, which is expounded upon in John 38:28-40, this historic exchange between Jesus and the Roman Governor Pilate takes place in Pilate’s residence, which is referred to as the Roman Governor’s Palace, in Jerusalem on the day before the Jewish Passover in what is now known as the year 33 CE according to the Gregorian calendar.  It was witnessed by none other than the Apostle John.  It is evident by its inclusion in John’s gospel that He grasped the full importance of the exchange.

For John was witnessing the start of a revolution.

Pilate, the governor, was Rome’s representative in Jerusalem, capital of the rebellious province of Palestine.  He spent his days tempering an uneasy peace between Caesar and the Jewish majority of the region.  His life was a daily exercise of the compromising principles and choosing the lesser of evils.  Perhaps more than any historical character, He represents the inescapable consequence of humanity orienting itself by the “Might makes right” mentality and the ever present fear that it engenders.

Pilate was the embodiment of Empire.

Jesus before Pilate by Nikolai Ge 1890
Pilate utters the lament of Empires across the ages: “What is truth?”

His reply to Jesus’ statement about everyone on the side of truth listening to him (Jesus), “What is truth?” is neither a contemptuous mock of Jesus, nor an honest question, rather, it is an exasperated utterance of a man whose life has been reduced to endless compromises, and has seen that the lesser of evils is, in any and every case, necessarily evil.

One must wonder how many heads of state today utter these same words as they contemplate the clear moral law in contrast to what they have been called to do in this life.

How many career military men, after carrying out an assault on the enemy, have grappled with this lament in their souls?

Each of them may grapple, if indeed they pause to reflect on such matters, with a contradiction which has been eloquently expounded by Adin Ballou, who wrote a significant body of work on peaceful resistance, in his pamphlet entitled:  “How many Men are Necessary to Change a Crime into a Virtue?”

“One man may not kill. If he kills a fellow-creature, he is a murderer. If two, ten, a hundred men do so, they, too, are murderers. But a government or a nation may kill as many men as it chooses, and that will not be murder, but a great and noble action. Only gather the people together on a large scale, and a battle of ten thousand men becomes an innocent action. But precisely how many people must there be to make it so?–that is the question. One man cannot plunder and pillage, but a whole nation can. But precisely how many are needed to make it permissible? Why is it that one man, ten, a hundred, may not break the law of God, but a great number may?”

Yeah, it is a contradiction that rightfully haunts thinking persons the world over to this day.

Que es la Veritat
The question that haunts thinking persons the world over to this day, “I que es la veritat?” (“And what is truth?” translation from original Catalan) highlighted by Antoni Gaudi the Passion facade of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. (Photo by Etan J. Tal)

At this flashpoint in history, Pilate speaks for all of them.  The Might makes right system, which must avail itself to represent the truth in a vain attempt to cloak itself with a shred of legitimacy, leaves its thinking adherents searching in vain for a truth that ultimately relies on the fragile force of arms to perpetuate itself.

On the other side of the truthless void embodied in the person of Pilate, is Jesus, the Messiah.  Jesus brought the truth with Him wherever He went.  As He stood, soon to be condemned to death by the Might makes right mentality which was swallowing the world, He embodied the truth as never before.  John witnessed this moment in the governor’s palace and remained shocked to the end of his days.

The Apostle John
The Apostle John, witness to the watershed moment in human history

To Pilate’s lament, “What is truth?” Jesus replies, then and forevermore: “God Forgives.”

In doing so, He ratified what he had preached in the Sermon on the Mount, to turn the other cheek, what is know today as the doctrine non-resistance.

Ever since that fateful day, which represents THE watershed moment in all of human history, mankind has had the choice to chose the Golden rule, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” over the self destructive system of Might makes right.  For Jesus represents the clear change in God’s relationship with mankind.  God would no longer claim His ultimate authority on the failed Might makes right philosophy, for there is none mightier than the Living God.  Rather, He chose to cleanse the world through Jesus, the ultimate example of non-resistance.

Jesus’ crucifixion served as an indictment to every soul who would claim triumph by defeating others.  It served notice of the moral bankruptcy of the world system.  For over 2,000 years, those who have stopped at the cross to soak in the message, as John did, have been relentlessly making the world a better place.

In His resurrection, Jesus shattered every excuse for those who believe in Him to cling to the failed system of Might makes right, for to cling to the system is to live in constant search of, or worse, a fear of a truth which has already been revealed.  It is to deny that the kingdoms of this world are perishing and the the Kingdom of God is advancing EVERY DAY.

The Christian, then, has no moral standing when embracing the “Might makes right” mentality in defense of property and even life.  Jesus showed us the better way, the way to the Father.  He is preparing for us a home in God’s Kingdom, where the rule of Might makes right is vanquished, where peace is permanently established and treasures are secure, for the Golden Rule reigns supreme.

Yet the true irony and divine beauty of embracing the doctrine of non-resistance here and now is that it serves to enhance both the peace and security of the adherent.

Why not give peace a chance?

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for September 10, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.62
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.28
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.81
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.68%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,724 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  8.1%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,254
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,385,400,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,002,100,000,000

The Catechism of Non-Resistance: Required reading for all human beings

Adin Ballou
Adin Ballou dedicated 50 years of his life to spreading the doctrine of non-resistance.

Leo Tolstoy, in his great Christian-Anarchist work “The Kingdom of God is Within You,” pays homage to Adin Ballou, an American preacher who was a colleague of William Lloyd Garrison, the great American Abolitionist.  Ballou devoted 50 years of his life advocating for the doctrine of non-resistance.

The following is a version of the Catechism of Non-Resistance that Ballou created for his followers.  The last paragraph is especially moving, so much so that we consider it required reading for all human beings:

Q. Whence is the word “non-resistance” derived?

A. From the command, “Resist not evil.” (M. v. 39.)

Q. What does this word express?

A. It expresses a lofty Christian virtue enjoined on us by Christ.

Q. Ought the word “non-resistance” to be taken in its widest sense–that is to say, as intending that we should not offer any resistance of any kind to evil?

A. No; it ought to be taken in the exact sense of our Saviour’s teaching–that is, not repaying evil for evil. We ought to oppose evil by every righteous means in our power, but not by evil.

Q. What is there to show that Christ enjoined non-resistance in that sense?

A. It is shown by the words he uttered at the same time. He said: “Ye have heard, it was said of old, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you Resist not evil. But if one smites thee on the right cheek, turn him the other also; and if one will go to law with thee to take thy coat from thee, give him thy cloak also.”

Q. Of whom was he speaking in the words, “Ye have heard it was said of old”?

A. Of the patriarchs and the prophets, contained in the Old Testament, which the Hebrews ordinarily call the Law and the Prophets.

Q. What utterances did Christ refer to in the words, “It was said of old”?

A. The utterances of Noah, Moses, and the other prophets, in which they admit the right of doing bodily harm to those who inflict harm, so as to punish and prevent evil deeds.

Q. Quote such utterances.

A. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”–GEN. ix. 6.

“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death…And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” –Ex. xxi. 12 and 23-25.

“He that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor, as he hath done, so shall it be done unto him: breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”–LEV. xxiv. 17, 19, 20.

“Then the judges shall make diligent inquisition; and behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother, then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother…And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”–DEUT. xix. 18, 21.

Noah, Moses, and the Prophets taught that he who kills, maims, or injures his neighbors does evil. To resist such evil, and to prevent it, the evil doer must be punished with death, or maiming, or some physical injury. Wrong must be opposed by wrong, murder by murder, injury by injury, evil by evil. Thus taught Noah, Moses, and the Prophets. But Christ rejects all this. “I say unto you,” is written in the Gospel, “resist not evil,” do not oppose injury with injury, but rather bear repeated injury from the evil doer. What was permitted is forbidden. When we understand what kind of resistance they taught, we know exactly what resistance Christ forbade.

Q. Then the ancients allowed the resistance of injury by injury?

A. Yes. But Jesus forbids it. The Christian has in no case the right to put to death his neighbor who has done him evil, or to do him injury in return.

Q. May he kill or maim him in self-defense?

A. No.

Q. May he go with a complaint to the judge that he who has wronged him may be punished?

A. No. What he does through others, he is in reality doing himself.

Q. Can he fight in conflict with foreign enemies or disturbers of the peace?

A. Certainly not. He cannot take any part in war or in preparations for war. He cannot make use of a deadly weapon. He cannot oppose injury to injury, whether he is alone or with others, either in person or through other people.

Q. Can he voluntarily vote or furnish soldiers for the government?

A. He can do nothing of that kind if he wishes to be faithful to Christ’s law.

Q. Can he voluntarily give money to aid a government resting on military force, capital punishment, and violence in general?

A. No, unless the money is destined for some special object, right in itself, and good both in aim and means.

Q. Can he pay taxes to such a government?

A. No; he ought not voluntarily to pay taxes, but he ought not to resist the collecting of taxes. A tax is levied by the government, and is exacted independently of the will of the subject. It is impossible to resist it without having recourse to violence of some kind. Since the Christian cannot employ violence, he is obliged to offer his property at once to the loss by violence inflicted on it by the authorities.

Q. Can a Christian give a vote at elections, or take part in government or law business?

A. No; participation in election, government, or law business is participation in government by force.

Q. Wherein lies the chief significance of the doctrine of non-resistance?

A. In the fact that it alone allows of the possibility of eradicating evil from one’s own heart, and also from one’s neighbor’s. This doctrine forbids doing that whereby evil has endured for ages and multiplied in the world. He who attacks another and injures him, kindles in the other a feeling of hatred, the root of every evil. To injure another because he has injured us, even with the aim of overcoming evil, is doubling the harm for him and for oneself; it is begetting, or at least setting free and inciting, that evil spirit which we should wish to drive out. Satan can never be driven out by Satan. Error can never be corrected by error, and evil cannot be vanquished by evil.

True non-resistance is the only real resistance to evil. It is crushing the serpent’s head. It destroys and in the end extirpates the evil feeling.

Q. But if that is the true meaning of the rule of non- resistance, can it always put into practice?

A. It can be put into practice like every virtue enjoined by the law of God. A virtue cannot be practiced in all circumstances without self-sacrifice, privation, suffering, and in extreme cases loss of life itself. But he who esteems life more than fulfilling the will of God is already dead to the only true life. Trying to save his life he loses it. Besides, generally speaking, where non-resistance costs the sacrifice of a single life or of some material welfare, resistance costs a thousand such sacrifices.

Non-resistance is Salvation; Resistance is Ruin.

It is incomparably less dangerous to act justly than unjustly, to submit to injuries than to resist them with violence, less dangerous even in one’s relations to the present life. If all men refused to resist evil by evil our world would be happy.

Q. But so long as only a few act thus, what will happen to them?

A. If only one man acted thus, and all the rest agreed to crucify him, would it not be nobler for him to die in the glory of non-resisting love, praying for his enemies, than to live to wear the crown of Caesar stained with the blood of the slain? However, one man, or a thousand men, firmly resolved not to oppose evil by evil are far more free from danger by violence than those who resort to violence, whether among civilized or savage neighbors. The robber, the murderer, and the cheat will leave them in peace, sooner than those who oppose them with arms, and those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword, but those who seek after peace, and behave kindly and harmlessly, forgiving and forgetting injuries, for the most part enjoy peace, or, if they die, they die blessed. In this way, if all kept the ordinance of non-resistance, there would obviously be no evil nor crime. If the majority acted thus they would establish the rule of love and good will even over evil doers, never opposing evil with evil, and never resorting to force. If there were a moderately large minority of such men, they would exercise such a salutary moral influence on society that every cruel punishment would be abolished, and violence and feud would be replaced by peace and love. Even if there were only a small minority of them, they would rarely experience anything worse than the world’s contempt, and meantime the world, though unconscious of it, and not grateful for it, would be continually becoming wiser and better for their unseen action on it. And if in the worst case some members of the minority were persecuted to death, in dying for the truth they would have left behind them their doctrine, sanctified by the blood of their martyrdom. Peace, then, to all who seek peace, and may overruling love be the imperishable heritage of every soul who obeys willingly Christ’s word, “Resist not evil.”

ADIN BALLOU.

On the nature of Empire, Part II: The better way

9/4/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

In our last correspondence, we began to explore the nature of Empire and found that it is necessarily founded and maintained by a prevailing “Might makes right,” mentality.  This mentality has, as its logical end, the effect of destroying the capital stock of a society.  This is accomplished by the wasteful consumption of resources by employing them in both warfare, whose destructive nature need not be further explored, and welfare, which by nature rewards sloth and penalizes productivity.

{Editor’s Note:  Here we must make the clear distinction between charity, which is a voluntary action taken by a willing individuals to help their fellow human beings and welfare, which is a system of Imperially mandated aid which ends in enslavement both for the recipient and provider.}

When confronted with the fatal defect of Empire, the destruction of the capital stock of a society, the Imperial apologist offers support of the Empire as either the lesser of two evils, implying that the ideological alternative, namely: Anarchy, would lead to chaos and an even greater destruction of life and capital or may find support in any number of religious texts for Imperial rule and conclude that submission to government is God’s will.

“I am an atheist with regards to government, for I have chosen to live in the Kingdom of God”

We offered this refrain a mere three months ago as we explored inconsistencies between a belief in God and a belief in the world’s government.  Today, we will take this idea a step further as we present the better way that civil persons over the centuries have searched for and, in their better moments, embraced.

We’ve been inspired to do so by a recent post by Joel Bowman over at the Daily Reckoning entitled: We’re all Anarchists Now.

One of Mr. Bowman’s points is that Anarchy is a concept that has been hijacked.  In the same way that the term Liberalism has come to be associated with social progressives, anarchy has come to be associated with rebellious hoodlums.  However, when properly understood, Anarchy, devoid of the “Might makes right” mentality, is the perfect antidote for the problem of Empire.  As Mr. Bowman explains it:

“Properly understood, the term anarchy, which derives from the Greek anarchia, literally translates an, “without” + arkhos, “ruler.” Freedom from being owned…enslaved…forced against one’s will. Freedom to act voluntarily. Freedom to associate with whomever one so desires and under whatever conditions he or she sees fit…provided they do not diminish the ability of another to enjoy the same freedom.”

In other words, Anarchy declares that, all at once, there are no sovereigns and that every individual is sovereign.  You can understand why this may upset those who cannot begin to imagine  this worldview.

As for those who would support the “necessary evils” of perpetuating the Empire on religious grounds, we offer the following:  Were the Empire to truly be God’s agent on earth, it would cease to exist.

The Kingdom of God is Within You
“The Kingdom of God is Within You”

From the beginning, God has desired communion with mankind.  It is from a state of perfect communion with God that mankind has fallen, and it is to this state of perfect communion that mankind will return.  How can this perfect communion exist if God requires an earthly, Imperial authority to act on His behalf?

Yet the ultimate solution of Anarchy, where there is no sovereign save God himself or where every individual is a sovereign subject to God, depending upon one’s preferred theology, would be the embodiment of a perfect communion with God.  In fact, it would be the only way in which it is possible.

The problem, then, is not the existence of Empire, the Empire is simply the manifestation of man’s failed belief system that “Might makes right.” It is this failed belief system that must be vanquished.

The better way

Sadly, to study most of human history is to study the violent and destructive embodiment of the “Might makes right” mentality as Empires rise and fall, either to external Empires on the rise or from revolutions from within.  With every violent upheaval, most recently observed in what is now referred to as the Arab Spring, it becomes clear that the populace has simply exchanged one oppressive regime for another.

In fact, as one examines history, it becomes clear that the only true, permanent changes have come about when they are brought about through the use of peaceful resistance.  Who amongst us are not familiar with the name Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.?  These men found the key to permanent change lies deep within themselves.

The key has been articulated by Leo Tolstoy in his insightful work “The Kingdom of God is Within You.”

It is the way revealed to us by Jesus, who chose to suffer and die in order to break the disease of ‘Might makes right” in the hearts of everyone.  To open the way for a perfect communion with the Father.

This is the better way.  His action trumped every argument that could ever be made in favor of Empire, and opened the doors to God’s Kingdom, the reign of a Holy God over a perfect Anarchy where the only rule is emblazoned on every heart:

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself”

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for September 4, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.46
Oil Price per Barrel:  $95.35
Corn Price per Bushel:  $8.07  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.58%
FED Target Rate:  0.14%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,696 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  8.3%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,036  
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,306,900,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,032,900,000,000