Dr. Paul Cleveland

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Kings of This World: Givers or Takers?

In the first chapter of Genesis we are instructed that all people are created in the image of God and have been given a mission to have dominion over the animals and subdue the earth (subdue is a translation of the Hebrew kabash, which means here to make the earth useful for human beings benefit and enjoyment). We know, of course, that

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Do You See the World as Jesus Sees It?

In Romans chapter twelve the Apostle Paul tells us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. The question I would like to raise is, “What does this look like in practice?” At the core I think we can all agree that it means we should be students of God’s Word. That is, God is calling us to know His Word. However, I think the admonishment goes beyond this. Indeed, we must be able to apply the principles of Scripture to the various facets of daily life if we are to fully implement the command. In this regard, I’m afraid that we may well be falling far short of our duty.

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Why Worldview Matters in Teaching Economics and American Government

One might ask the question, why would I want to use an American Government textbook that was written twenty years ago? It is because this is a text that is sorely needed today. Read a little of Dr. Clarence Carson’s Preface, and ask yourself if this is not an endeavor worth the time and effort of your students. These principles, truly understood, will prepare them for their future:

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Christian Educators and the AP Economics Tests

One common goal of Christian educators is to prepare their students for college. As part of this preparation, many teachers endeavor to prepare their students to take the AP exams in various disciplines. Moreover, parents are likely supportive of this practice since successful passage of those exams can earn college credit, thus reducing the number of courses needed to graduate and, in turn, saving the parents tuition dollars. What could possibly be wrong with this practice?

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Harvesting the Fruits of Relativism: An Opportunity for the Revival of the Liberal Arts in the Western Civilization Tradition

In March of 2017, student protesters at Middlebury College shut down a planned lecture by Charles Murray. Murray was there to discuss the subject matter of his recent book, Coming Apart. The protesters themselves were wholly ignorant of anything that Murray had ever written or what he was going to say that evening. Nevertheless, they shouted and chanted and accused Murray of things he has never said or written. This event is incredibly disturbing

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The Goal of Charity (Poverty #3)

In my previous discussion of poverty we looked at the nature of it. The chief point made was that poverty is a signal of the failure to acquire suitable resources for the achievement of one’s ends. Since life in this world is always marked by the limitation of...

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Is Welfare Policy in America Broken? (Poverty #1)

When I speak to various audiences around the country I have often asked them at the outset how many people believe that we have some serious economic problems in our nation. Invariably nearly everyone will raise his or her hand. There is at least the sense or feeling that something has gone terribly wrong in our country. However, when people are asked to identify the source of the problem there is widespread disagreement.

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The Meaning of Justice and Mercy

The prophet Micah told his readers that God requires of us, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8b) But what does this simple statement mean? The first thing to note is that there are three component parts of the statement. In this essay I would like to focus on the first two.

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The Vanity of the Minimum Wage

The recent popularity for governments at various levels to increase the minimum wage is overwhelming evidence of the immense economic ignorance that plagues our country. Not only that, such policies actually oppress the poor among us and ought, on that basis alone, to motivate Christians to vocally oppose such measures….

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The Decline of Civility

As the culture wars continue to rage, civility is on the decline. At root the battle for our culture pits those trying to save Western civilization against those seeking to replace it with a secularized vision of utopia. It should be noted that Western civilization...

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Plundering Our Way to Prosperity?

We all face numerous obstacles in life. Many of these are natural. There are always limits to our time and understanding. We must overcome the problem of distance and our useful means are always limited. In fact, the very first principle of economics states that there...

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Government: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  Our government is out of control. Could you explain why? Could you explain what the legitimate purpose for government is? This article by Dr. Paul Cleveland, originally written in 1997, explains the exact problem that we face, and lays out the case for returning to...

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The Minimum Wage: An Island Tale

Consider three individuals who are living on an island. Imaginatively, let’s call them Gus, Carl, and Hillary. Now, through a lot of risky hard work climbing trees and picking fruit, Gus has accumulated quite a stash of coconuts. However, since Gus has been busy...

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Who Can Be Trusted With Freedom of Choice?

Christianity has always asserted that people are sinners. This does not mean that people are as bad or evil as they could possibly be, but that every aspect of their being is tainted by sin. As such, human action is always flawed in this world. Unrighteousness and...

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On Tithing and Taxes

Hillary Clinton recently proposed changing the way long-term capital gains are taxed. This proposal prompted me to take a look back to see how capital gains have been taxed over the past 25 years. In doing this I discovered that the tax treatment of long-term capital...

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Rule Makers Gone Wild

Each year for the past twenty years Clyde Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has updated his assessment of the federal regulatory government.[i] Over the course of that time span the various federal agencies have drafted over 81,000 final rules and...

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Government Action and Oppressing the Poor

  The writer of Proverbs warns us against the folly of keeping a common purse with immoral people.[1] This proverb can be applied to how we think about our government’s provision of various goods and services ranging from education to housing to healthcare. Indeed, it...

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On Limited Government

Moral action requires choice. How can we say that one action is virtuous and another immoral, if the person acting has no choice in the matter? In an earlier post I argued along with Frederic Bastiat that liberty is the environment in which moral character is developed. Recognizing that this proposition must square with the fact that we live in a sinful world, I would like to further explore the purpose of government. Because of sin’s reality it is most certainly not government’s role to plan and control all of life since no one is fit for the task….

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Affirming the Natural Law

On a recent trip to China I had the opportunity to give a lecture to a large class of freshmen and sophomore management students. There were around 225 students in attendance. As is my habit in such situations, I gave a lecture establishing the nature of private...

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Economic Goods and the Problem of Greed

Human beings are purposeful actors. In our conscious selves we can all think of ends to pursue. However, to achieve our ends we must use the means ready at hand. These means are forever limited relative to the ends we can imagine and for this reason we must economize. That is, we must choose how to employ our means to achieve our ends and seek for ways to increase our means.

To do this requires work. In truth, there are only two economic ways to obtain the means to the achievement of our ends. We can produce the means by our own efforts or we can produce something of value and use that something to trade for that which we want. Since trade is the main way to obtain the means to our ends we call them economic goods.

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Searching for Security in a Risky World

Recent events highlight the fact that we live in a risky world. The terrorist bombing of the Boston marathon, the explosion of a fertilizer plant in Texas, and a massive earthquake in Iran are all examples of events that result in multiple deaths and injuries along...

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Our Current Economic Outlook

As Moses was completing the Lord’s instructions to the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land, he outlined a series of blessings that would be theirs if they obeyed God and curses that would befall them is they disobeyed. In Deuteronomy 28 we read about these blessings and curses. Obedience would result in a general national prosperity and the accumulation of wealth such that the nation would lend money to many nations but would borrow from none. That is not to say

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Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Today we are increasingly being informed of cases of corruption in most every area of life, especially in government. While the media has tended to focus on cases of fraud and scandal committed by corporate leaders, it seems to me that the cases of fraud and corruption in government are far greater. In many instances, the lies told here will ultimately lead to much worse consequences compared to private scandals which tend to be self-limiting. After all, the private sector quickly punishes those who are caught with their hands in the till.

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The Scientific Cul-de-sac of Utilitarianism

  True religion can make no peace with a false philosophy, any more than with a science that is falsely so-called; a thing cannot possibly be true in religion and false in philosophy or in science. All methods of arriving at truth, if they be valid methods, will...

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