Advanced Worldview Analysis - Lesson 19

Inflation of Rights

Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discussing the inflation of rights.

Ronald Nash
Advanced Worldview Analysis
Lesson 19
Watching Now
Inflation of Rights

The Christian Worldview and the Philosophy of Law
Part 1

Presented by guest lecturer Alejandro Moreno-Morrison

I.  Introduction


II.  Inflation of Rights

A.  Inflation in Economics

B.  Similarities between money and rights

C.  Inventing new (spurious) rights

  • Discussion of the content of a worldview and the criteria used to evaluate worldviews.

  • Discussion of liberalism and conservatism, and statism and anti-statism.

  • Political systems fall along a continuum between the extremes of anarchism and totalitarianism.

  • People favoring statism support extensive government involvement in education and social programs.

  • From a biblical point of view, statism is evil.

  • Discussion of justice on an individual and corporate level.

  • An economy based on capitalism has much less government involvement than an economy based on socialism.

  • Interventionism is a capitalistic economic system in which government gets involved to allow free exchange within a framework of laws.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism.

  • Two basic concepts of economics are limited resources and the choices we make that reflect our values.

  • Marxism is an economic system based on the idea of a class struggle with the goal of a classless society.

  • Article from The Free Market

  • The Bible and Socialism, Moral Defense of Capitalism

  • We are responsible to be a good steward of the wealth God gives us to manage.

  • Some of the root causes of poverty are government, social and religious systems.

  • Liberation theology is an ideology promoted by people trained in Marxism. True liberation theology delivers people from tyranny, poverty and sin.

  • Christians ought to care about poverty and oppression. People who hold differing economic and social theories propose very different approaches and solutions to these problems.

  • Discussion of the differences between evangelical liberals and conservatives.

  • Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discussing the inflation of rights.

  • Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discusses legal positivism.

  • A balanced approach toward environmentalism is needed because it can be a serious threat to individual liberty.

  • Discussion of how people work in a capitalistic system to address environmental concerns.

  • The public school system in the United States has fostered functional illiteracy, cultural illiteracy, and moral/spiritual illiteracy.

  • Discussion of the pros and cons of setting up a voucher system to fund the education system.

In this class, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced worldview analysis, starting with an introduction to the concept of a worldview and its importance. You will explore the various components that make up a worldview, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and anthropology. The course delves into analyzing different worldviews such as theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, and existentialism. Finally, you will learn about the role of the church and individual believers in engaging with culture and responding to worldview challenges, as well as strategies for effective communication of your own worldview.

Dr. Ronald Nash

Advanced Worldview Analysis


Inflation of Rights

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:03] We have a guest speaker tonight here all the way from Mexico City. His name is Alex Moreno. I've known Alex for, what, 20 years or more like now to be seriously for for a lot less than that. I am pleased that Alex is here to talk to us, and he's going to talk to us about issues in the philosophy of law. Thank you, Dr. Nash. And thank you for coming. We have twice the amount of people we have usually, so we have about a thousand people tonight. And I hope I will not disappoint them. I will try to follow might as possible the approach that we have been taking with Dr. Nash in this in this class and present to you. Historical background and relationship with primary sources and try to give you some elements to think about law as Christians. I don't bring solutions. All my intention is to explain some of the basic terms, some of the basic trends, some of the basic schools. And just as we explore with Dr. Nash an economical way of thinking, there is a legal way of thinking, and that will help you as you engage your own study. There are handouts for you to take. There will be helpful through the lecture and as they will save me some time. Part of the importance of this class. It has to do with the fact that we are dealing with practical aspects of worldview. That is how a worldview is expressed in action in the decisions we make. So it is not just a theoretical thing of what is a state or what is money, or what is economics, or what is a society. But it has primarily that has been our approach, a practical implication. After we have these worldviews, how do these worldviews translate into action? How do the people holding these worldviews act according to what they believe or vice versa? We go to their actions, to their decisions, to their practical programs, their agendas.


[00:02:14] And we see how these reflect worldview. So there is a relationship between what is, let's call it, to be. And action. When we think about law, we think about what ought to be. And these are some basic terms that we will be handling and some basic categories for you to to start to handle. And we will introduce our topic with an interesting thesis that I'll present to you, and you will decide if it has any value. And from there, that will help us to set some of the terminology. And from there we will take it to unlike other course about law. And at the end we will have some reflections about Christian approach to law or how we as Christians approach to law in light of all the materials that we pretend to cover. This interesting thesis that I present to you is called I have called Inflation of Rights. As you know, the term inflation belongs properly to the realm of economics. And there in economics it is described popularly. When we talk about inflation popularly, people would think about prices going up and what is this expression in English and in Mexico, we use an expression of a race between wages and prices, and I think it's called a spiral here in the US, the spiral prices, wages in which there is a competition, prices are increase and then wages are increase and prices increase again. And this is part of the external phenomenon of inflation. But more technically, inflation happens when the state or whoever is controlling the currency, the availability of currency in a society is printing more money, making more money available to the society. What happens here is usually that a government has a deficit in its budget or has some unexpected expense, and instead of raising taxes or getting money by another means, just go ahead and print money.


[00:04:21] This is probably ancient history for many of you, but when I was a teenager, there was hyperinflation in Mexico. So that's still very vivid in my mind, probably not in yours. And the reason why the current Federal Reserve system has more independence is precisely to avoid that there is a direct control from the executive branch to print money. So the Federal Reserve has certain autonomy so that it will not succumb to the power of the executive branch to print more money. What happens in inflation? We have a certain amount of products and services that are available and a certain amount of money that corresponds to each product. In a technical sense. Prices are not increase. In a technical sense, what happens in inflation is that money loses its value. Well, $1 used to buy one item, now the same item costs you $2. And that is not that this item is more valuable, but that money has lost value. How did it lost value? Well, the amount of money has been increased. There is a bigger amount of currency circulating, but the services and products available are the same. This is an operation of the supply and demand law. There is more availability of money. People have money in their hands. They go out to buy, they buy one. The demand increases. There is not enough production and prices tend to go up. Very good literature on this for you to to go here. One of the ways in which economists have proved that inflation is due to this increase of circulating currency in our society has been what the experiments done in countries with hyperinflation, countries that had hyperinflation in a certain point said we are not going to print more money and inflation stopped.


[00:06:34] Of course, since the economy was not in good shape, they had to print money again and then started to control back this situation. But this proved ultimately through some sort of black box that the law of supply and demand has this effect because you cannot create wealth by printing more money. Wealth is created by production and therefore if you print more money, but you have exactly the same kind of wealth, which is that the products that are manufacture or the services available in our society, the amount of money will just twice the price. There is one problem, an ethical problem with inflation, and that is that it is an unlawful or illegal or sub legal tax. Why? Because the state is getting money from the people. A few weeks ago I got an email about nice things that can happen to you in a day and it says You finding a bill on an old pair of pants. I say, Well, that's happy surprise. If you don't live in a country with inflation, because if you live in that country with inflation and you find a $20 bill that you left there ten years ago, you have lost a lot of money and you just get upset of all the money you have lost because those $20 were able to buy more back then than what they are able to buy today. Who took the value of that money? It's the government, the one who printed it and first spending. Because when the government prints the money and goes out to spend or pay is that prices are still the same. And it is until that money becomes available to the masses that the effect of inflation starts to happen. And therefore, the government is getting the best part of it.


[00:08:35] Because when the government used that money, that money had more value than when the worker or employee will go to the store and try to use that money. So here we see a loss of value. And this, of course, has ethical implications. But now I want to make a comparison. I don't know how tight the comparison is, but I think it's worth exploring their second person. I believe between the realm of economics and the realm of rights in law, there are obvious points of connection. We have said both of these disciplines are both of these realms that deal with human action. That is one of the things Dr. Nash pointed out in the recent lectures. Economics has to do with human action, and rights have to do with human action. A Right, technically speaking, legally speaking from a legal standpoint, I write always has to have a corresponding duty. My right to life is and this is important, my right to life is a universal negative duty. Or to put it in Latin, which is always sweet a duty of non fogerty. That means that my right to life is from another point of view, the duty of everyone else. Every other human being in humanity, every other person who is alive not to take my life. My right to life is a universal negative duty of the rest of humanity not to take my life. My right of property is a universal negative duty for all the rest of mankind not to use or harm or take on lawfully. The thing that is my property every right has a corresponding duty. When you engage in a contract, it is obvious you have a right to receive telephone service and that right corresponds to the duty of the telephone company to to provide that service.


[00:11:07] The telephone company has a right to your money and you have a duty to pay that money. There is always a relationship between rights and duties. There cannot be any right without a corresponding duty. Now, we have spoken about these universal negative duties, and I also put an example like in contracts, let's put here in contract of positive duties or functioning. Now let's do a little bit of. Accountings. If you receive your bank statement and if you are not like me because I never check my bank statement. But if you are more disciplined about that and you don't need paperwork as I do, and you receive your bank statement and there is an item, there is a charge on your bank statement that does not correspond to any service or any payment that you make. What do you do? You complain. Why? Because there is a duty or a burden. Duty here would be like in the case of duty free shops, there is a duty of tax or burden or charge. That for you at that point has no justification. The bank has no right to take your money without a justification. And what would be the only proper justification for that? Either it is in the contract that you are going to be charged $5 a year for whatever. Either it is penalty that you incur, but that would also come from the contract or a service that you purchase or a payment you make. But if that is not proved to you, you are entitled to ask back that money because the bank has no right to take that money. Again, the relationship between duty and right now, if your bank statement comes and you have a bonus $10 not to inspire the greed of anyone, you'd have just $10 that the bank put in your account.


[00:13:36] Are you going to call the manager and said, you know, unless and until you prove that I am entitled to these $10, I just don't want to use this $10. Please take them away from my account. I think most people would not be inclined to do that. Why? Because they are receiving something. And even though we all realize that money does not appear from nowhere, we really don't want to inquire about that. It is their problem. Or some people would think that way when it comes to the relationship between rights and duties at a social level. What has been traditionally known as a civil rights or if you go back to the old theory, the classical theory, subjective rights, which has nothing to do with epistemological subjectivism, but it refers to rights of the subject, subject to rights. We find that the traditional doctrine is that man has a number of rights in society that are of these negative universal nature. The state cannot violate my property, cannot violate my papers, and the state cannot violate my person. The state cannot impose on me any taxation that is not approved by Congress. And you remember, your country was pursuing that. It is unlawful to tax without representation. So all these are negative duties set upon the state that constitute minor rights. Now, there has been a point in society in which there has been a change, and it seems to be I got this book, a very good book. I know whose library it was before, but I just got it downstairs from the Court of Books on sale, and it helped me to get a little more acquainted with the history of the United States. I know these in general terms of the theory, but for you in the United States, there is this quote at the bottom of the first page of this rough draft in Simon's understanding, and that is William E Simon.


[00:15:46] It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who father the core of the liberal ideology by inventing a new kind of freedom, a government guarantee of economic security and prosperity, thus equated freedom with cash by calling cash a freedom in a society where the state was pledged to protect freedom. He converted freedom into a monetary claim on the state by this single ideological switch. Franklin Delano Roosevelt caused a flat reversal of the relationship between the individual and the state in America. The state ceased to be viewed as man's most dangerous enemy, to be shackled forever by constitutional change. It was henceforth proclaimed to be the precise opposite. It became man's tenderhearted, protector and provider. And that, to many, sounds very appealing that now the state, the rights that law confers to me are not only a recognition of the behaviors in which the state has to stop, but now the state is going to put something in my account. And of course, everybody gets very happy about that. Like when you get your bank statement and there are 50 more dollars there that came out of the blue. Everybody becomes very happy about that. The problem is that the state is truly a manmade entity. The state has no assets of itself. All the money, all the assets that the state has come from us, the society, the taxpayers. So in a very interesting no. Even though we are giving several rights to cash. From the back door. We are being charged with a duty. And here the moral question is what is the ethical justification for imposing on me, taking away from my money to distribute it for other purposes in the society? I content and I challenge. I know that I will not get a lot of challengers here, but I contend that there is no moral justification to do that, that modern constitutional democracies have stated that the principles upon which they have been built is that the role of government is to secure the basic liberties, universal negative duties, the basic liberties so that people in society can engage in all kinds of productive activities or in productive activities if they don't want to produce.


[00:18:39] And that so far that they do not go beyond these universal negative duties. And this may sound an oversimplification, and I want to let you know that I am aware of the complexity of this. Yes, there is a basic point in which we know we have to have a bureaucracy and we have to have those who pass laws, those who are experts, and can take the situation of the country and think which laws are necessary to keep peace and order in society. We need judicial branch to decide controversies between particulars when we engage in contracts and someone is failing to do his part in a contract with the judicial branch, or when the state is going beyond its faculties and it's violating our duties, there is a need for defense. There is a need for public order police. And then there are those gray areas that is hard to know. But here my point is one of my first points is that for every right that politicians come out to offer the voters, if that right is not one of these universal negative duties. That right is really a burden. That will come on you or someone. Maybe if you are not in the productive side, you will not be heard. But even poor seminary students pay taxes in this country, and it's worse in Mexico. I think I pay less taxes here than I would in Mexico. So every time there is a right and politicians are saying it's about time to secure the right to education, to housing, to all this and that and all those rights have. They are not of this nature. Then there is a burden that is being put in the whole of the society. And my contention is that those rights need to be proved.


[00:20:39] When you receive your bank account and you see a charge, you want to know what is the legal justification for that charge? In this case, you want to know what is the moral justification for that charge. This takes us to the next step. Usually the process goes like this. A few weeks ago, I was in Winter Park in this arts festival, and there were all these girls with tattoos saying, Do you want to protect animals? And of course, it's one of these animal societies that want to make lobby and pass laws and things like that. And of course, you say, well, I'm not a mean person. I certainly don't want to hurt animals. I certainly would like for animals to have a peaceful existence except for my steak or my dinner. But even in that, I would agree for the beef to come in a peaceful manner, a civilized as possible. So, yes, I want to protect the animals. And then I sign it. What happens if I sign and they use my signature to lobby to pass a law? What will that law do? That law will establish a power in the budget to protect animals. We do not know yet how, but there is will be a part in the budget to protect animals. Furthermore, they will pass laws so that if your cat is ill, you have to take him or your dog. You have to take him to the veterinarian and spend several thousand dollars in treatment. And you cannot just put an end to its miserable existence by another means because then you are violating the law. And in this process, my freedom has been taken away. I can no longer do what I want with my money. I can no longer do what I want with my property.


[00:22:37] Now there is a right for animals in this case that has constrained my freedom. And we can think about the propaganda usually goes that way. Wouldn't it be good for poor people to have this, to get that for students in public schools to get these or get that? And you say, Well, yeah, it would be good. But then politicians translate. It would be good to it should be enforced by the state. And therefore should be taken away from your freedom. What this cost us ultimately is like in economic inflation is that the value or the hand or the position, the status of true rights is diminished, loses value just as the money that is existing in a market that has the backup of products and services when more money comes in, loses value in the same way. These rights that have this relationship between right and duty money and what you can get from that, this rights to rights lose value with the creation of new spurious rights. Perhaps the best example I would grant that it's maybe extreme, but I think it's that's what makes it a good example is a case of abortion. In abortion. We have two individuals, two lives. Even if we were to grant that, we do not know if it's a human person, even if we were to grant that we have two lives like the animals that the girls in Winter Park, one to protect. We have two lives. Like when the environmentalists say that they want respect for all forms of life, we have to lives by the creation of a spurious right, which is the right to abortion. The value of the right to life has been diminished so that there is one life that loses completely its right to exist.


[00:24:52] That new spurious right has violated this universal negative duty. Similarly, like in the case of inflation, the first to use the newly created right is the one that gets more from it. Like in the state. The state is the first to spend the money. The state is the first to pay its debts at current value, but then that money flows the market. There is more demand. The same supply prices go up, people go out to use that money and when they use it, it has a lesser value. The one who use the spurious means for acquiring an object is the one who gets the higher value, and the other one is the one who loses it. In this case, when a woman exercises her right quote to kill a baby, she is getting the full value of a spurious right and it is eliminating the right to life that the baby has. Either way, let me just toss in here. We're not talking about abortion, but I talk about even if we grant to people the unknown nature of the life in the womb, what one basic right that individuals have in procedures is the benefit of doubt, The benefit to the doubt, the benefit to exhaust all means necessary to know what are the circumstances, the situation before, let's say, take a life. This example comes from a friend of mine in Canada, Michael Horner, with Campus Crusade. He says, If we were to demolish a building and there was a rumor or just a hint, the trace of a possibility that someone is in that building, would you go ahead with the demolition? And most of us would say, no, we are giving that person the benefit of the doubt. What if there is a person in there? We would not go ahead until we exhaust all human possibilities of knowing that we will not hurt anyone.


[00:27:18] So even for those who do not believe that there is human life in the womb, it is just reasonable for them to grant that benefit of the doubt. Because just as they can argue that it is not 100% sure that it's a human person. On the other hand, they cannot prove with 100% of certainty on the other hand, that it is not a human person. So in this situation, the benefit of the doubt should be given. You can think about many examples in which the creation of spurious rights that through our bargain they put something in your pocket, but then they take it from the back pocket. The result is not only that, we are not really getting anything at the end, but there is. Also relationship in between that and the loss of our freedom. One of the clearest examples following with the economics approach that I am following here is the use of money. There is a certain amount of money at a given moment in a market, and part of that money is used by the state in a market economy. We said a few weeks ago indoctrination this class in a market system, market economics is democracy applied to economics. Each dollar is said is a vote. When you express your preference for certain products and services by buying those or doing your business with a particular firm or a particular brand, you are expressing your preference. You are giving the market. You're giving the productive system vital information for the system to work. You are telling them how often you need milk, what kind of milk you want, how much are you willing to pay for that milk and other forms of information that help the market feed its productive system and supply the needs of a community? Now, if you remove you, half of the money available in a market is used by the state who is making the votes.


[00:29:34] The state you work and you can vote with half of your money and the other half of your money is taken away to make decisions in the market that are outside your preferences and your will in the same manner. When we increase when the state through all these, what my professor of economics calls legislative elephant autism, or is that a word in English elephant ism? Yeah. Could could be our legisla Vitus. That's the other word he used to use when when the state gets sick. Just making laws and making laws. Every law that is passed in some way or another reduces my freedom, even though it may claim to to bring a good for me. Now, what is at the root of this situation? At the root of this situation is the presupposition of statism. That is and I have this snide quote, this nice quote coming from this book as well. No limitation for government in the good society. Walter Lippmann stated that predominant teaching of this age are that there are no limits to man's capacity to govern others, and that therefore no limitations ought to be imposed from government. The older faith born of long ages of suffering under man's dominion over men was that the exercise of unlimited power by men with limited minds and self regarding prejudices is an oppressive, reactionary and corrupt. The older faith taught that the very condition of progress was the limitation of power to the capacity and the virtue of rulers. And here we come to an element of worldview. Statism has a certain assumption about man. The statism assumes that even though man is limited by himself, collectivity of men and power are omnipotent, or is because it's a collectivity, is omnipotent, omniscient, and it's becoming almost omnipresent.


[00:31:52] Now Christians ascribe these values to God, and here we come to a difference of worldview that collectivism statism ascribes to men in a collective structure that is empowered by the sword, by the state. You know, ascribes to it some, if not all, but at least some of the attributes that we ascribe to God. And therefore the state becomes the God from whom all blessings should flow. And again, every time we want something, we say, I have a right to this. But since we cannot pinpoint to someone who has the corresponding duty to give me that or to do for me that, then we ascribe it to the state. The stage should be sufficient. The states should be powerful to provide on the happiness in it. And therefore, the states should pass the law necessary. Raise the taxes necessary. Magna investigation Research. All the technocrats that are necessary to accomplish this new desire, this new level of happiness society is pursuing. And just to show you that I am not exaggerating. I'll read you from John Rawls. Now, this is in Spanish because I studied results in Spanish, but I'll translate. Hopefully it will not be a very rough translation. First Rawls. Now Rawls is not here. At this point, it's very early in the book. As you can see here, he's not pushing his personal agenda. He is now at this point, he is describing what is the current American understanding of society and the role of law in society. So this is not just rolls. He's just picking up the concerns of the community or the mainline academia. A society is a collective enterprise or corporation, a cooperative enterprise to obtain common advantages. Now, that sounds very nice and very romantic. The problem is that this distinction eliminates the individual as the object of rights and duties, and it is no longer that I have a right.


[00:34:43] It is no longer the traditional view of natural law that these are subjective rights of the individual of the subject. Now, my standing as an individual is not in and of itself sufficient to entitle me to these rights. I need to be in a collectivity to be entitled to this. Right. And of course, you can imagine situations in which voluntarily you come to a collective cooperative enterprise to attain common advantages. That's what businesses are. That's what corporations to organizations, associations, churches. We come together, we put our money and we pursue advantages that are going to be distributed among the members of that collectivity. The difference is that we do that voluntarily and we set our rules for doing that. The bylaws of a corporation are basically the agreement, the contract, the pact, the covenant that people make to pursue common interest and advantages. But when this is translated to the level of state, I don't have any longer a voice in what are the advantages to be pursued and what is to be considered an advantage. When people say the right to abort, it's a right for every woman I know several womans who do not want that right. And it's like in an enterprise, in a corporation, there are two partners, three partners. One wants to produce milk and dairy products, and the other one wants to build a rocket and go to the moon. The two of them say, we don't want that and therefore the want. The element that is not in agreement has to step out. Now, when we come to society, the more the legislative system, the corpus of law grows, the less voice we have in deciding what are these advantages that we want to pursue in common. And therefore it's taking away from our freedom to provide those advantages to other people.


[00:37:11] I will say later what should be the conclusion? But we come back to rocks. There is a conflict of interest because role technologist and not everybody wants the thing and it's not in agreement as the way it should be distributed. But then he says it is require therefore set of principles to choose between the different social dispositions that determine the division of advantages or products. I would say maybe, and these principles are the principles of social justice. And here we have this name that we have heard in this class. Again, social justice. I think it was Milton Friedman who said, Well, we already have trouble defining justice. Social justice is even harder. And and we have seen in this class what would be the role for a social justice. These principles are the principles of social justice. They provide a manner or a mode to a lot or assign rights and duties in the basic institutions of society and define the appropriate distribution of the benefits and the burdens of the social cooperation. So we come back to this notion of rights and duties and burdens. The thing is that roles and again, just mirroring or capturing the mainline American concern has no question on whether this collective approach should be pursued. He doesn't argue or prove at all why this collectivist approach should be pursued. Why should we have in our legal system, not only these universal negative duties that guarantee an environment of peace and order for everyone to pursue his dreams, to be productive in whatever he wants, to be productive, to be generous and non selfish in giving away to people, to be not to be productive and carry the consequences of that. But then we are put into this massive corporation in which whether or not you want, you have to put apart.


[00:39:39] And again, there is a role for that in basic issues as government defense. Maybe, I don't know. These are the fuzzy areas, some basic medical care, emergency care. But again, these are already gray areas in which we would all agree it's necessary for our society to have this. But then when we have to control the whole of human action and we want to have one system to control all the activities of individuals, because these individuals have no standing as persons and have no rights and duties by themselves. I again think that there has to be a proof. The burden of the proof is in whoever wants this to show me why morally, my freedom should be limited to this project. The burden of the proof. Why, again? Why are you going to put a charge in my bank account? You have to show me why. And I contend there is no moral justification for that. That's what my studies have taken me so far. I cannot find an argument to support the fact that I should pay for creating frames, arm metal detectors in public schools so that kids can bring weapons to school in Mexico. The National University is a big burden to the taxpayers because students who are very socialist say that education has to be free. So there is this massive campus, this massive university with expensive facilities, all that, and students pay nothing for education. And the question is, what is the moral argument to put that burden on free citizens? And I contend there are none. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access.


[00:42:10] Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.