Christian Nationalist “Patriot Churches” Are Popping Up Around the Country

Christian Nationalist “Patriot Churches” Are Popping Up Around the Country

It’s no surprise that Christian Nationalism has seen a surge during the Trump administration, with a lot of right-wingers perpetuating the false belief that America is inherently a “Christian nation.” In practice, that means they want our laws and culture to accommodate whatever conservative Christians believe — even if it comes at the expense of civil rights for minority groups or religious freedom for non-Christians. They worship God, guns, cops, the flag, and the absurd notion that America used to be great at some nebulous time in the past and we would be better off returning to that (non-existent) point.

For the most part, this has been a political idea. It’s lawmakers who push this idea that we’re a “Christian Nation.” But in an article for the Washington Post, reporter Sarah Pulliam Bailey says that a new breed of churches is joining the fray. Take one look at these “patriot churches,” and you’d be forgiven for wondering if the real object of worship is Jesus or the Founding Fathers.

This is a Patriot Church, part of an evolving network of nondenominational start-up congregations that say they want to take the country back for God. While most White conservative Christian churches might only touch on politics around election time and otherwise choose to keep the focus during worship on God, politics and religion are inseparable here. The Tennessee congregation is one of three Patriot Churches that formed in September. The other two are near Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and in Spokane, Wash., and [Pastor Ken] Peters says he is talking with several more pastors of existing churches who want to join them.

The 50 or so people in attendance may identify as born-again or just as generic “Bible-loving” Christians. Peters’s flock is not affiliated with a specific denomination, but it does have a distinct identity. The Patriot Churches belong to what religion experts describe as a loosely organized Christian nationalist movement that has flourished under President Trump. In just four years, he has helped reshape the landscape of American Christianity by elevating Christians once considered fringe, including Messianic Jews, preachers of the prosperity gospel and self-styled prophets. At times, this made for some strange bedfellows, but the common thread among them is a sense of being under siege and a belief that America has been and should remain a Christian nation.

In case you needed more evidence that Trumpism is a full-blown cult, look no further. If you needed more proof that the foundation of Trumpism is bigotry, again, look no further. These are churches that — even if they won’t say it out loud and even if they specifically say otherwise — promote bigotry against non-Christians, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people of color.

Gone are the days when the “American Dream” had anything to do with equality, or freedom of religion, or the ability for an immigrant to create a better life in a “land of opportunity.” The new American Dream, per these churches, is a nation that elevates white, straight, cis-gendered Christians who confuse disagreement with persecution, then throw temper tantrums when asked to make small sacrifices to protect the health of their neighbors. It’s a nation of petulant crybabies who are afraid of sharing the sandbox with anyone else.

It might be amusing if it weren’t so toxic.

And to longtime readers of this site, it shouldn’t surprise you that Pastor Greg Locke — the Trump cultist who, last year, literally burned a copy of a book that said we were not a Christian nation — is right in the middle of the movement.

[Peters] settled near Knoxville in July after Tennessee pastor Greg Locke, a Trump adviser, encouraged Peters to start a church in his state. Locke also donated $20,000 to the cause, because he contends Christians are in a kind of war with government. “They have us cowered down in a basement with our masks and require our churches to be closed,” Locke said in an interview. “That’s not Christian or American. We’re in the fight for our life.”

He’s confusing public safety restrictions with an attack on his religion because he’s not very intelligent. But it’s not surprising for Locke to play this game since his church has hosted the likes of convicted felon Roger Stone and conservative Charlie Kirk. In other words, his congregation is more likely to hear from Republican activists than Christian preachers.

But to people like them, is there really even a difference?

27 thoughts on “Christian Nationalist “Patriot Churches” Are Popping Up Around the Country

    • Hello Keith. Would the Christ of the bible recognize those preaching in his name today? A couple years ago I posted about a national preacher telling his flock to buy guns. He claimed it was a Christian duty to buy guns and arm yourself. I have read of gun blessing ceremonies in churches.
      Now you have white nationalist churches that wouldn’t let a brown man from the Middle East to even join the church or legally enter the country. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Dylan. Welcome back. I see you closed the comments on your site. I had posted a couple comments before you closed them, but they never made it out of moderation.

      Yes I can see why you would think that. You are Christian homeschooled, and you hear it in the Church all the time. Plus I wonder if you have been taught from the books of fake historian David Barton. Many religious YouTube groups use him as a legitimate source when saidly most of his “history” is a fabricated made up imaginary versions of history to promote a religious cause. I will cite some things here, but I do hope if you use his writings for schooling you will look into his history and education to see for yourself he is driven not by facts but by the goal of promoting religion.

      Dylan I enjoy our conversations and I like we try to use reason not dogma in our discussions. So there is two points I would like to use reason on. Judeo-Christian morality and Democracy.

      Judeo-Christian morality, what is it and where did it come from. You have not said this, but some people think that morality came from God to the people of the bible and that there was no laws until their God set the laws for them. This is historically incorrect. Of course people knew how to live peacefully in communities before there was even a thought of any of the Abrahamic religions. Look up the The Code of Hammurabi which came well before any Judeo-Christian morality. If you look at the morality of the bible it is suspect in what is considered right / wrong, or good / bad. I will use an example so many people misunderstand what the bible really says. Marriage, and what is it biblically.

      A lot of people only concentrate on the parts told from the pulpit and taught in sunday school without really seeing the horrible parts of the bible and what is considered good in it. We can talk more about that if you want, but I sure wouldn’t take my morals from a highly immoral book whose God is OK with child sex trafficking and chattel slavery. From my studies the bible was a geopolitical book about the local warlords and their attempts to keep power written with the understanding of the human people 2000 years ago. We humans have grown more in understanding and information than they ever could imagine.

      Before this gets too long lets use reason on democracy and where our version came from. The democracy our forefathers envisioned was

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      It was a system of governance built on the say of the people. However the government that is used in the Bible is very different, it is a dictatorship. The very thing the founding fathers wanted to avoid and get away from.

      Let’s look at how the Bible is a dictatorship. God is the lord, he is the top boss, what he says is what goes, no argument, he makes the rules and the people follow them. He has the perfect plan. Even the angels, who in the beginning were thought of as other or lower deities, ( that is why the first commandment is so important to the Bible God, You shall have no other gods before me ) were to obey him at all times or face the worst of penalties. Government of the Bible is top down, from God the ultimate authority to the preacher / pastor / priest / religious leader. That leader speaks to and for God. He has the inside info. So what the leader says goes, no argument. Any disagreement is first argued down and if that doesn’t stop dissent, the authority of the church is brought into force to keep the leaders will. In this form of government the people have no say, they are told how it will be. If they don’t like it they can leave in some religions, in others no one can leave and if they try they are killed. That includes Christian sects as well. In some the death is symbolic called shunning. A love it entirely or leave it if you can culture, not a democracy wouldn’t you say?

      So do you see that the US system was not built on the Bible nor on any religious model? The grand thing is the truth of where the founding fathers got the idea for the form of government we have. “The most democratic forms of government that any of the convention members had personally encountered were those of Native American nations. Of particular interest was the Iroquois Confederacy, which historians have argued wielded a significant influence on the U.S. Constitution.”

      “The Iroquois Confederacy, founded by the Great Peacemaker in 11421, is the oldest living participatory democracy on earth 2. In 1988, the U.S. Senate paid tribute with a resolution 3 that said, “The confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.”

      The peoples of the Iroquois Confederacy, also known as the Six Nations, refer to themselves as the Haudenosaunee, (pronounced “hoo-dee-noh-SHAW-nee”). It means “peoples of the longhouse,” and refers to their lengthy bark-covered longhouses that housed many families. Theirs was a sophisticated and thriving society of well over 5,000 people when the first European explorers encountered them in the early seventeenth century.”

      How wonderful the true history of our formation of government is. The Native people were not ignorant savages, they were an enlightened people who had their own laws, culture, and history of thousands of years. The rest of what we did to the Native Nations was a horrible stain on our country. The foreigners were the white people from Europe who stole their lands, stripped their rights away, and committed genocide. But that is another conversation.

      Look forward to hearing back from you. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely an intriguing and developed perspective. My knowledge of the philosophy of America’s founding is really limited to the writings of John Locke. He believed in the notion of natural rights, which existed within the context of the state of nature. Natural rights were derived, as I mentioned, from a mixture of Judeo-Christian morality and Greek reason. Since the Ten Commandments explicitly read “thou shalt not kill”, then as logically follows, man has a ‘right’ not to be killed.

        This idea of having natural rights seems to have been later mirrored in the Declaration of Independence.

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”

        From a postmodern (or atheistic) perspective this famous sentence may seem irrational. After all, how are the ideas of natural law to be understood without a transcendent point of reference?

        Anyway, I don’t think think of myself as a person who has a very cultivated understanding of America’s founding. You made a lot of comments on a variety of different subjects and in a way linked them all together in a very coherent way.

        Overall, I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

        Yours kindly,


        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Dylan. I do not mean to overwhelm you when I respond, sorry if it seems I am throwing everything at you including the kitchen sink. The problem is sometimes your comments are broad and I need to cover several subject to respond.

          I will look up John Locke as I am not familiar with his writings.

          You may have a much greater understanding of philosophy than I do. It was never a subject I studied and I admit I struggle to see how it relates to reality and our human existence. So that is a subject you will have to coach me in.

          Dylan I want you to feel comfortable to come here and to share your opinions and ideas. Not everyone here including me may agree with you, but you will get your say with out being unfairly attacked. I want discussion and conversation on topics and issues, not attacks. I will work hard to see that disagreements stay on issues, not personalities.

          You mentioned natural rights. In some circles that is code word for Biblical rights. But if you really would like to talk about it I have some thoughts. Basically there are no rights not granted by the ruling government. If a right can be taken away it is not a right, it is a privilege. If you want to talk about it let me know.

          Best wishes. I hope your schooling is going well. I understand there is a new Covid outbreak in LA , as it seems it is everywhere, so be safe. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • I appreciate your concern for my well-being.

            Also, I hope I am not giving the impression that I am well versed in philosophy. It is definitely not my prowess. However, I have read a considerable amount of John Locke’s literature.

            Here is a link to the material in which I am about to summarize. I would really like to do a series of essays relating to it some time.

            Click to access POLSC2012.3.pdf

            The following is my interpretation/summary of Locke’s argument (found in his Second Treatise of Government) :

            Locke was a firm believer in individual sovereignty. He argued that man, in his natural state, was perfectly free. Nevertheless, being free did not mean that individual action was detached from any boundaries. Natural law was the precondition to natural rights. If all individuals were compliant in forfeiting a portion of their will to adhere to the law of nature, then a subsequent equality of rights could be established among men.

            But of course, as so rightly put by Thomas Paine ; government is a necessary evil. If this assertion is valid, then the next question might be ; what is the function of government? And before that ; how are they created?

            Locke argued that governments were justly established on the basis of consent. This involved a certain degree of relinquishment of sovereignty on the part of individuals. In short, the purpose of government, according to Locke, was to maintain individual natural rights (the right not to be killed, robbed, enslaved, etc.) by upholding natural law.

            Anyway, hopefully this gives you some food for thought. I also wish to make clear, for the purpose of avoiding any misconceptions, that I am not at all arguing that my interpretation of his writing is flawless. I would highly recommend that you read him for yourself.



            Liked by 1 person

            • Hello Dylan. I noticed the date of original publication is 1690. I am still reading it. But don’t you think we have a better understanding of governance and human rights, rights vr privileges in general, now in the 21st century than they did in the 17th century? I will discuss natural rights and the flaws of it in a few days. Hugs

              Liked by 1 person

              • Although the text was penned in 1690, it still appears to serve as the logic underlying our current understanding of government and rights (particularly in the West). For example, in chapter 5 Locke makes the argument that the acquisition of property by individuals is justified on the grounds that part of mans purpose is to improve the earth. It is notable that the mere idea of man having property in nature is fundamentally metaphysical. It is clear that nature does not supply man with a paragon or model for conduct/behavior, it simply exists around him and nothing more. Indeed, if man has any property in nature, he certainly cannot defend his ownership of it by reason alone.

                Enjoy reading,


                Liked by 1 person

                • Hello Dylan. Interesting. I like the idea so far. However as I said I have not had time to read or research the thesis.

                  But as to your point of Chapter 5 and property I would say it is based on your view point, your bias.

                  For example I would point out one of the biggest , if not the biggest bone of contentions between the new incoming white people and the natives who were here was the idea of land ownership. Most tribes who controlled an area did not feel anyone owned any of the ground they were not using. If you were using it such as having your home on it or growing crops then they understood it was in use. However if you stopped using it they then considered it available for anyone else to use. The natives felt land was not owned but borrowed for a time.

                  When the white man came here and started setting up fences around large areas of land they were not using the Natives were not only perplexed, they were angered as you would be if people moved in and just insisted their rules are now the law. They basically were claiming land that before everyone had a right to. How would you react if some one just put a fence across your local street and through your park / play ground?

                  So by your description as I have not read it yet, I see his view is colored by a European ideal of his time. Which is natural, he writes and thinks based on what he knows.

                  I admit I am struggling to understand what you wrote here: ” It is notable that the mere idea of man having property in nature is fundamentally metaphysical. It is clear that nature does not supply man with a paragon or model for conduct/behavior, it simply exists around him and nothing more.”

                  The reason I struggle with this is simply that man is part of nature, not separated from it. We are a part of the natural development of this world. That is a scientifically proven fact. It is reality.

                  That is why when some religious leaders claim that same sex acts are against nature they are clearly wrong, there are over 1,200 animal species who we know to date who engage in same sex sexual relations. The number may be greater now that data was from 4 years ago.

                  Dylan I agree with you on one great point! We need to be good stewards of this planet. Dang it this is the only one we have and the only one that has us. We need to get a priority on to controlling the damage we humans are doing to the planet right now. In my life time I have seen every indicator going from bad to worse. We need more voices from your age group because it seems too many from mine are OK with the current destruction.

                  Ah again this is long. Sorry. I will try really hard to read the entire file you sent as soon as I can. Thanks again for some interesting conversation. Be well. Hugs

                  Liked by 2 people

  • Excellent points. It seems to me that juxtaposing the views towards property of pre-colonial natives with those of 17th century European thinkers can certainly aid in better understanding the real consequences of different philosophies.

    The following is one of the perspectives I have considered regarding this subject which seems to me to be pretty sound :

    One of the things you rightly highlighted was the way in which native tribes viewed property. That is to say ; all of the elements made available for usage by nature (according to the-then common philosophy of the natives) were not to be made into pieces of private property but merely “borrowed.” If my reasoning is somewhat correct, this resulted in many a native taking on the status of “lifelong vagabond.” In other words, many natives were essentially compelled by social custom to be drifters. Land was cultivated to feed tribes and subsequently abandoned, houses were constructed to be portable, etc.

    However, this way of viewing property was obviously dissimilar to the European ideas surrounding the same subject. Locke wrote that private property was birthed the moment that an individual mixed his labor with a given resource. Being the owner of something gives one an incentive to maintain and improve whatever they own, in some cases to the best of their ability. Many native tribes did not own private property (since they didn’t believe in the concept) unlike their European counterparts, and therefore had less reason to take the fullest advantage of the resources available to them.

    Different philosophies breed painfully different human outcomes. In this case, natives often believed in a philosophy that did not assist them nearly as much as Europeans. Where European thought lead to the raising of the standard of living, native thought tended to keep society unendingly static. This wasn’t because native tribes in any way lacked the human capacity to accomplish what Europeans achieved (as some have argued), it was simply because they had different interpretations of reality, which doubtlessly effected how they chose to act in the world.

    Being “a good steward of this planet” has many assumptions built into it. Firstly, who says we need to be good stewards? And secondly, what does it mean to be a good steward? These were deep questions our ancestors obviously answered in very different ways. And this circles back to the central point of this expressed argument, that is ; how we think about the world largely governs how we choose to act in the world.

    Additionally, some philosophies (or ways of thinking about the world and hence acting in it) are better than others. This is why throughout history different peoples have been more successful than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Dylan. A well thought out reply. I have not gotten a chance to read the Locke essay you sent, it is over 171 pages and I am always strapped for time. I think I will look for a more condensed version.

      I think you have how the Native People thought about land as both correct and wrong. Yes the Natives mostly lived a nomadic life style as they most followed the food source, herds of grazing animals. They were good stewards of both animals and land by not over hunting one area and not over growing crops in an area which would deplete the soil nutrients. This lifestyle is not to imply they were shabby or living below some level of success. Also I want to be clear that while the individuals of the tribe were only using the land many tribes had large ranging territories they stayed to as they moved around. They seen cooperation as key to coexistence but were willing to fight for what they thought rightful. They seen their lifestyle as much more beneficial for everyone and the planet than the lifestyles being pushed by the Whiteman.

      So the issue I would have with Locke is the idea that only if you own something do you take care of it or improve it. It was not true in his time, and is even less true today. Often communities take care of things far better than a single individual does.

      As far as philosophies / culture deciding what groups of people survive I also think that is a far over simplification. Often what causes a group to die out is the interference of other groups either directly killing them or cutting off / denying resources to the effected group. It is external instead of internal. Using reason and history I can see that yes you could say being aggressive assholes that kill and take from your neighbors with out any care for their needs or survival means you are much more likely to survive while you kill others. But that gain will be short term as what normally happens in history is that the negatively effected people groups together to defeat the asshole groups / nations. Or the user assholes deplete their habitat and can not conqueror more territory. The former USSR was like this, they kept sucking up the resources if the satellite buffer states until their was nothing left to exploit and they were unable to get more lands, so they declined and failed. Cooperation and education while moderating the negative effects on the environment has historically shown a much better survival rate for different groups. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Impressive reply! Although I must disagree with your objection to Locke’s comments on private property. Private property supplies individuals with ownership in things that are not available to everyone else. This creates scarcity of resources, an essential precondition to the inception of market economies.

        You definitely make some solid points on the pre-colonial natives. It is appropriate for me to admit that I am very historically ignorant. I do not subscribe to either of the prevailing historical interpretations regarding our founding. On the political-right, there is the popular narrative that America’s founding is flawless and that the exploratory Westerners/Europeans were completely justified in colonizing the “New World.” While on the political-left I repeatedly hear over-emphasis of the “stolen land” story, the tales of “mass genocide” of “the indigenous” by “the whiteman.”

        Both of these interpretations are remarkably imperfect as a consequence of there factual incompleteness. Yes ; settlers killed natives, but natives also killed settlers. Yes ; colonizers may have been unethical in appropriating certain land, but the land they colonized arguably became part of one of the wealthiest and prosperous nations on the face of the earth.

        I appreciate the intellectual exercise and thoughtful discourse.



        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Dylan. I enjoy talking with you also. I find our discussions both enlightening and entertaining. I am glad you also are enjoying them.

          You wrote:

          Private property supplies individuals with ownership in things that are not available to everyone else. This creates scarcity of resources, an essential precondition to the inception of market economies.

          Sorry but I am not following that line of reasoning. Can you flesh it out for me so I understand what you mean. Thanks.

          Let’s talk about the nations history. It was not just some unethical people and the taking of a few spots of land. It is not an equal 50 / 50 situation, but more like Hitler invading Poland. Also does the fact that the nation that the invaders established became prosperous make the killing of millions of people OK? The US government deliberately gave smallpox infected blankets to the Native People, to the tribes, in an attempt kill them, to murder them. It is estimated that over 12 million Native people were killed. Remember when 6 million Jewish people were killed by Hitler the world said never again and gave the Jewish people their own nation. Between 1492 and 1600, 90% of the indigenous populations in the Americas had died. That means about 55 million people perished because of violence and never-before-seen pathogens like smallpox, measles, and influenza.

          As for the history of the nation and the hostilities including genocide I suggest you read about Andrew Jackson and the trail of tears. Basically the US wanted land they had pushed the natives to, the courts said no president Jackson couldn’t move them as we had legal treaties with the Natives over the land. Jackson sent the Army to do it anyway. In the most cruel and deadly manner. Jackson was a racist bigot who hated the Natives. Yes there a genocide and a near wiping out of the Native peoples. Seriously I am not being hyperbolic. Native women were still being sterilized against their will even though it was illegal until after 1976. This is stunning.

          Assisted by government assumptions that high Native American birth rates should be stemmed, and bolstered by lax law enforcement and inaccurate descriptions of medical procedures provided to women who thought they were being treated for things like appendicitis, a rash of forced sterilizations began in the 1960s. Even after legislation designed to protect women from forced sterilization was passed in 1974, the abusive sterilizations continued. Between 1970 and 1976 alone, between 25 and 50 percent of Native American women were sterilized.

          The last legal forced sterilization was in 1981, but I can not find out any information on the person so I do not know if it was a Native individual. The data shows an incredible number of Native Women were sterilized against their will and without consent even after the law was past making it illegal.

          Even today the US treats the land seeded to the Native People and the Native People themselves as an occupied territory. Here is some really important history to understand what is happening.

          It’s often overlooked that self-government in America was practiced by Native Americans long before the formation of the United States government. And yet, Native Americans faced centuries of struggle before acquiring full U.S. citizenship and legal protection of their voting rights.

          Many government officials felt that Native Americans should be assimilated into America’s mainstream culture before they became enfranchised. The Dawes Act of 1887 was passed to help spur assimilation. It provided for the dissolution of Native American tribes as legal entities and the distribution of tribal lands among individual members (capped at 160 acres per head of family, 80 acres per adult single person) with remaining lands declared “surplus” and offered to non-Indian homesteaders. Among other things, it established Indian schools where Native American children were instructed in not only reading and writing, but also the social and domestic customs of white America.

          The Dawes Act had a disastrous effect on many tribes, destroying traditional culture and society as well as causing the loss of as much as two-thirds of tribal land. The failure of the Dawes Act led to change in U.S. policy toward Native Americans. The drive to assimilate gave way to a more hands-off policy of allowing Native Americans the choice of either enfranchisement or self-government.

          The Snyder Act of 1924 admitted Native Americans born in the U.S. to full U.S. citizenship. Though the Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870, granted all U.S. citizens the right to vote regardless of race, it wasn’t until the Snyder Act that Native Americans could enjoy the rights granted by this amendment.

          Even with the passing of this citizenship bill, Native Americans were still prevented from participating in elections because the Constitution left it up to the states to decide who has the right to vote. After the passage of the 1924 citizenship bill, it still took over forty years for all fifty states to allow Native Americans to vote. For example, Maine was one of the last states to comply with the Indian Citizenship Act, even though it had granted tax paying Native Americans the right to vote in its original 1819 state constitution. As reported by Henry Mitchell, a resident of that state, Native Americans were prevented from voting in Maine in the late 1930s.

          …[T]he Indians aren’t allowed to have a voice in state affairs because they aren’t voters. …. Just why the Indians shouldn’t vote is something I can’t understand. One of the Indians went over to Old Town once to see some official in the city hall about voting. I don’t know just what position that official had over there, but he said to the Indian, ‘We don’t want you people over here. You have your own elections over on the island, and if you want to vote, go over there.

          In 1948, the Arizona Supreme Court struck down a provision of its state constitution that kept Indians from voting. Other states eventually followed suit. Even with the lawful right to vote in every state, Native Americans suffered from the same mechanisms and strategies, such as poll taxes, literacy tests, fraud and intimidation, that kept African Americans from exercising that right. In 1965, with passage of the Voting Rights Act and subsequent legislation in 1970, 1975, and 1982, many other voting protections were reaffirmed and strengthened.

          I would like to say that everything is fixed now and native People have the same rights to vote that you and I do. But sadly bigotry is alive and well in the areas of the reservations ( a word I dislike because of the connotations ) such as the Dakotas where many attempts at suppressing the Native votes were implemented, including removing close facilities making some people have to drive for 2 to 3 hours to vote, and requiring addresses to have componentes not used on reservations.

          Have a great holiday and be safe. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • I found your reply stimulating, and I apologize for my severely delayed response. You definitely made some first-rate points concerning the mistreatment of the native people, however I think this conversation is largely getting off into the weeds.

            My initial view was that the ideas that served as the foundation of American politics and culture were to a large extent rooted in Greek reason and Judeo-Christian morality (in the same manner that Stalin’s Soviet Union was grounded in an atheistic framework). America began as a very religious nation, but it has since gradually become more secularized. Furthermore, I don’t recall expressing the judgement that the deaths of native Americans at the hands of settlers was ethical. It seems I must have improperly communicated my point, otherwise you wouldn’t have formed such misconception. My intention in my previous comment was to coney how the two predominant ideologies of our time (namely the political right and left) have somehow formed two distinct interpretations of United States history. After examining both interpretations I reached the conclusion that both were only partially accurate. Where the right haphazardly frolicked over the mistreatment of the natives in an effort to display the greatness of the American Revolution, the left focused almost solely on the ill-treatment of some groups [blacks, natives, etc.] by one group [whiteman] while silently casting aside the significance of the founding. Again, forgive me for employing a little artistic license. It should be said that I subscribe to neither of these incomplete accounts of American history but have simply extracted the concrete facts from both.

            Also, do we disagree over the necessity for private property? I wrote earlier ; Private property supplies individuals with ownership in things that are not available to everyone else. This creates scarcity of resources, an essential precondition to the inception of market economies. What I meant is that in the absence of private property, scarcity would be dealt with in a whole different way. If we aren’t to exchange our private possessions through mutually benefitial transactions with others (which is by definition bartering/trading), what resource allocation method could be practiced in alternative? At an elementary level, scarcity is created because the demand for a given resource surpasses the availability of that resource.

            That said, I hope I have sufficiently clarified my points.




            • Hello Dylan. Never worry about the time delay, we all get busy or have other issues to deal with. Here is what you said about the deaths of Native People at the hands of the settlers.

              Both of these interpretations are remarkably imperfect as a consequence of there factual incompleteness. Yes ; settlers killed natives, but natives also killed settlers. Yes ; colonizers may have been unethical in appropriating certain land, but the land they colonized arguably became part of one of the wealthiest and prosperous nations on the face of the earth.

              You mention the “significance of the founding”. What is that exactly please?

              Yes, I understand what you are getting at now with private ownership. This is different from the original idea you put forth earlier at the start of the conversation where ownership made one take better care of property. Which is not always true.

              This explanation of what private ownership brings is much more understandable and justifiable. I would say it not necessary for a marketplace economy. The systems used in medieval past did not include much in ownership by the individual, and was more ownership was concentrated at the top by the elite. The land and all resources was all owned by an overlord, a noble and the serfs created the items on it. They did not own these items as such but were allowed to keep differing amounts depending on how the deals were set up and the whims of the lords. If the king demanded more, if the church demanded more, the noble took more, and the peasants did the best they could with what was left. I have not read much on serfs and peasants before now and the lifestyles of them are interesting. I also did not know that while serfs were the lowest class of person they still were thought of as human and had a very limited set of rights. Serfs were a lower class of peasant.

              Yes scarcity is created when demand is more than supply. It is not a problem when the demand is simply a want. It is a huge problem for society and the wellbeing of humanity when the demand is a need. When the demand is caused because it is a need and those with the item needed are hoarding it for greed, it becomes a huge detriment to society and the wellbeing of the community and humanity. In such case private ownership becomes a negative not a positive.

              For example say there are only 100 Oscars for all the many film industry people to get, the scarcity is not detriment to the well being of humanity nor the community, and so the private hoarding of them not a problem. However the hoarding of a needed item such as shelter or food is a negative to the wellbeing of society, community, and humanity and there for a better system of distribution must be used. Yes must is the right word. We are thinking beings with empathy for others. If we are to be human we must place the good of the many above the greed of the few.

              Lastly as I do not intend to belabor the point, the US did not begin as a very religious nation, but it has since gradually become more secularized. This simply is not true. Read the papers of the founding fathers. They feared religious organizations as much as political parties. The majority of them were deist.

              Deism refers to what can be called natural religion, the acceptance of a certain body of religious knowledge that is inborn in every person or that can be acquired by the use of reason and the rejection of religious knowledge when it is acquired through either revelation or the teaching of any church.

              This is not a position of the left or the Democrats, it is the truth of history. Just as wearing masks work to prevent the spread of Covid 19 the US was not founded as a religious or Christian nation. It is exstremely frustrating the amount of disinformation being promoted by evangelical religious groups and charlatans like David Barton. The major push of Christianity in the US began in the late 19th and early 20th century with the “Mainline Protestant” denominations promoting the “Social Gospel” in the early 20th century, calling on Americans to reform their society; the demand for prohibition of liquor was especially strong. After 1970, the mainline denominations (such as Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians) lost membership and influence. The more conservative evangelical, fundamentalist, and charismatic denominations (such as the Southern Baptists) grew rapidly until the 1990s and helped form the Religious Right in politics. The nation had a Catholic population from its founding, and as it expanded into areas that had been part of the Spanish and French empires, that population increased substantially. Immigration from Catholic countries increased Catholic diversity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Catholic Church has been the largest religious organization in the United States since at least the turn of the twentieth century. As Western Europe secularized in the late 20th century, the Americans largely resisted the trend, so that by the 21st century the US was one of the most strongly Christian of all major nations.

              My reading shows there have been waves of religious revivalism in the US as early as its founding, but those waves waned and faded. So as you can see Dylan it is the opposite of what you believe. The US had gotten more religious than at its start, and the very secular nature of the constitution is threatened by the desire of some groups to create a fiction of the beginnings of our country to please their personal beliefs. Instead of a secular country tolerant of all religious worship as it was meant to be at the founding, there is a push to create the fiction of a religious country started to promote Christian principles on to the people.

              Best wishes. Hugs

              Liked by 1 person

  • Excellent! Forgive me, but I’m going to limit my reply by only addressing your point on property rights and private ownership. Also, I would prefer hereafter that our conversation revolve around one topic at a time. In reducing the content of our discussion we can address things more specifically and hopefully with more precision. Perhaps we may even find some areas of agreement.

    Firstly, I do not actually understand your argument (however, this presupposes that you were making one). You made a slight objection to my earlier idea and wrote :

    This is different from the original idea you put forth earlier at the start of the conversation where ownership made one take better care of property. Which is not always true.

    Property rights create something called self-monitoring. During the years of the Soviet Union, visiting American farmers were astonished to find truckloads of bruised, poorly packed, and rotten fruit being shipped from collectivist farms. The handlers of such fruits had insufficient incentives to properly care for the perishables in transit, chiefly because they were payed fixed salaries (Read the Russian economists Shmelev and Popov and Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago”). On the other hand, can you imagine if American farmers generated agricultural output similar in quality to that of the Soviet collectivists? American farmers have a compelling incentive to practice self-monitoring, otherwise they may end up suffering losses in the marketplace.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Dylan. Sorry I worked for an hour or more to reply and lost the entire thing. Let me try again.

      The reason I said your first idea on property ownership and your second were different was because one is about maintaining and caring for property and the other is ownership causes scarcity which makes something valuable. That is two different things. Also we may agree on a lot of things, we just don’t talk about them much in the comments.

      OK I am going to paraphrase what I wrote before as I really need to move on. The problem you mention with the conditions of farms in the USSR was not due to lack of ownership, nor with not caring. It was due to the structure of the system the farmers had to work in. In the USSR the upper echelon were taking all the countries wealth and goods for themselves and using most of the country’s GNP to build a military to challenge the world with. When the leaders of the country need a job done they did not look for the person skilled in the job field, they simply put whoever was handy in that position. So they had people doing jobs they were not skilled for. Plus the farmers were not given the equipment or resources to maintain the equipment they had nor the stuff needed for fertilising the land to grow the crops. In many cases where the farms were was bad land for farming and they did not have the needed water or proper growing conditions. The last thing is hope. The people were required to produce a quota of crops with no means of doing so and were punished for their failure while the countries leadership refused to admit their own failures. As Ron just told me he remembers that videos of famers trying to plow fields with horses and using broken equipment because they had no other tools for the job. So I do not feel this situation can be used for anything about ownership and the idea of treating something better if you own it. The USSR also felt the people were disposable so they really did not care if they suffered. Again it was a top down country, the best and most for the top upper class, nothing for the lower worker class. Sort of the way the US is going.

      I have known many people who have let their properties get run down because they lost the ability to keep them up. It did not mean they stopped caring about the property, they just did not have the money, time, or ability to keep them repaired or in the best of shape.

      Is this still on the ideas of John Locke? I still have not had time to read up on him. Best wishes. Hugs


      • Great reply!

        Lockean property theory is just one way of conceptualizing the creation of private property from natural resources.

        You wrote :

        The problem you mention with the conditions of farms in the USSR was not due to lack of ownership, nor with not caring. It was due to the structure of the system the farmers had to work in.

        You are correct about the structure of the system being flawed, however collectivism (meaning state ownership of property) was part of that system. Instead of relying on a free market to set the prices of resources (through supply and demand), the Soviet Union ran a centrally planned economy. This meant that commissions of bureaucrats were charged with the task of allocating resources which could have been alternatively and more efficiently allocated by the Russian people through free market transactions. You see, what Russian consumers ‘demanded’ was not being adequately ‘supplied’ by the planning commissions (hence why a country very rich in natural resources frequently found it difficult to feed its people). Even more, what Russian consumers did not ‘demand’ was often ‘over-supplied’ by central planners, often causing unnecessary waste.

        My earlier example with the Russian farms was clear. The farmers did not have sufficient incentives to increase the quality and quantity of what they produced.

        With regards to private property (from a non-Lockean perspective), people generally take better care of property that is theirs. For example, the market value of houses is determined partly by the condition of the house. If the house is dilapidated, then its market value is likely to be lower than, say, the neighboring house which is well kept. Thus, there is a real incentive to maintain the quality of one’s property so as to not unnecessarily decrease its value.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Dylan. I was in agreement on most of what you were writing until you got to your conclusion. I do not think the facts on the ground support where you ended up. You totally disregarded the fact they had no resources to get needed things, maintain buildings or equipment, or improve their situation. As you wrote they did not call the shots, the central government did. It doesn’t matter if they owned it or not, with out those things the situation fails. In fact here in our capitalist system many business have gone out of business simply because they are over leveraged and no longer have the cash flow or borrowing ability to keep the business going.

          Yes I agree the USSR had a bad system of supplying the demand. I do not see that free market with no regulation would have improved that as again in the US today the problem can be seen.

          One thing you have to understand is the USSR did have money and limited capitalism. In 1989, the official GDP of the Soviet Union was $2,500 billion while the GDP of the United States was $4,862 billion with per capita income figures as $8,700 and $19,800 respectively. In fact it may surprise you to learn that farmers were paid salaries on state owned farms and paid based on crop production on collective farms. So there was some incentives. So again lack of production was not because of lack of ownership. Yes there was apathy on the part of some people producing the food, due to the things I mentioned before but again lack of private single person ownership doesn’t seem to have been the big issue.

          I find this fact page very informative. Please look it over. It is short and easy to understand.


          I did not know some of these things, but I had heard of the overview of them.

          Now please do not think I am championing the USSR nor their system of governing in anyway. I am just pointing out it is not ownership that was the main problem. The problem as you correctly note was the overall mismanagement of the government.

          Here is a wonderful news article from 1975 that breaks down the problem of agriculture in the Soviet Union.

          The article mentions everything from government mismanagement, to poor short growing conditions, to mismanaged distribution / transportation and so much more. Here is some of the article.

          The agricultural system is less rigid than it was during the Stalin years, but collective and state farms are still told what crops to plant and when to plant and harvest them. Despite an effort to increase supplies of fertilizer to 120 million tons a year by 1980, farmers have complained of not always receiving the proper sort of fertilizer when they need it.

          There have also been periodic complaints of inadequate distribution of farm machinery and, this year, a widespread shortage of spare parts. As late as last August, it was reported that 2,500 combines were standing idle in two regions of Kazakhstan because of improper maintenance and lack of parts. At one state farm in Western Siberia, the harvesting equipment worked so poorly that 1,000 workers were sent into the fields, to collect the crop by hand.

          Consequently, the Soviet Union tends to treat each harvest as a new emergency, commandeering hundreds of thousands of trucks and calling out even more urban residents to help with the harvest. Last summer, troops were used to transport crops in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Russians say that calling on the military at harvest time is not uncommon.

          You wrote

          My earlier example with the Russian farms was clear. The farmers did not have sufficient incentives to increase the quality and quantity of what they produced.

          I hope I have shown that this is not the case. Incentives were there, they were getting paid. It may not have been as great as it could have been but it was not the main issue with the food shortages. It was the other problems rather than personal ownership.

          As for your last paragraph, you are missing the point. Ownership is great, I have owned my own homes since the 1980’s. I have known many great renters also as well as other home owners. Dylan everyone wants to live in the nicest, prettiest, best cared for home they can, even if they do not own it. They will still keep it up and treat it well. The reason some properties fall into disrepair is mostly due to lack of money or ability to keep the property up. It is far more than a properties worth, that is not how most people see their homes or lands. They take pride in it not because of its list value, but in how it makes them feel, how it looks. If they can keep it looking well they do, if not it doesn’t matter that they own it.

          On the flip side you have what are called slum lords that refuse to put money into keep their properties fixed up and nice because even though they own the buildings, they don’t live there. They want the money more than they care about how it looks or is to live in. So again ownership is not really the key to everything that you seen to think it is. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • I want to apologize before-hand, that this reply is only partially relevant to the things you mentioned in your last comment. I intend to read the links you listed, as I am very interested in devouring what knowledge they may contain. The Hollidays were exceedingly frantic and thus I had very little time to attend to such tasks as replying to comments (again, I apologize). Also, Happy New Year.
            I am currently reading F.A Hayek’s “The Road to Surfdom” and recently completed Hernando De Soto’s “The Mystery of Capital”, two excellent works that I would highly recommend reading. The former is a sound criticism of the idea of democratic socialism and the latter is an inquiry regarding the causes behind the failure of capitalism in may third-world and ex-communist nations (already 20 years old but still rich in facts). Anyway, here is my response for now. It strictly addresses what might be regarded as the fundamental issue with the USSR’s economy :

            In analyzing the history of central planning in the USSR, I am reminded of a most important fact : economics is the study concerning the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses. The primary aim of central planning was to generate more “fair” economic outcomes. “Fair”, in this sense, refers to that which central planners decided the masses “needed.”
            However, in determining what the masses “needed”, central planners effectively robbed individuals of the economic freedoms they would otherwise have had. In essence the question is : are scarce resources better allocated by a few commissions of central planners, or through the innumerable activities of individuals within a competitive market? Although capitalism is most certainly far from perfect, it still is, as economic reformist Hernando De Soto wrote “the only game in town.”
            Even though it’s tempting to believe that the problems of inequality and poverty could readily be solved by a perfectly managed state-run economy, we must not forget that only capitalist societies have been successful in achieving the highest levels of freedom and equal opportunity that we treasure.

            I will attempt to get back to your other points on property at a later time.

            Warmest regards,



            • Hello Dylan. Holidays tend to be very chaotic times, especially if you have family and more so if you are trying to spend time with friends and family. I am not a scholar of the subject you wish to talk about, but I am game to read and learn, so I posted your comment and a bit about the two books you mentioned in a post and asked the community to get a discussion going. I think it will be a lot more fruitful for you than me stumbling along. I will try to add my thoughts in here and there where I can.

              Two quick things. As I was looking up the books I noticed a couple of things. On the first book the author seems impressed with Michael Milken. The man is a crook and scam artist I would suggest you look him up. He is not someone I would aspire to admire. The second thought I had was the second book I disagree with the main idea of entirely.

              “Capitalism, he wrote, is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.” This is an opinion not sustained by the facts around us. Reason says look around the world at the many countries that have far higher standards of living than the US in all respects and ask what the difference between those countries and ours is. In the countries where people are doing the best and happiest the government restrains capitalism. In the US you have unrestrained capitalism killing the very things that make the profits. You do not need to go back far in history to prove this. In the 1950’s the US had restrained capitalism that produced the most robust economy in history that made money for the wealthy and also created the middle class, causing the greatest flow of money in a population ever. This is our history. Then in the 1970’s the idea of taking away the restraints on capitalism, to undo restrictions and regulations letting capitalism run wild started. It led to the situation we have today. An unsustainable system with a huge wealth gap. In history every country that has gotten this kind of division between the wealth equality has failed, become a failed state, which sadly is where the US is now.

              We are not the country of American exceptionalism now with wealth concentrated at the top are we? We are not the same nation that put men on the moon. Even China understands you need social constraints on capitalism to make a successful economy for a country to work properly. I suggest among the reading you are doing you look around the world as it is today and see which countries have the most satisfied and happiest people, and what form of government / economic systems they have. The US is regressing fast to the days of the robber barons that led to the great depression. It seems the greed of our country today has let us forget lessons of history which showed how such greed can wreck a country, destroy a people, and cause misery for all but a very few.

              I think the problem is semantics, a word understanding problem. You have been taught that the word socialism is bad in every usage, and that a socialist government is the same thing as Democratic Socialism. It is not. I think we have been over this. Communism, Socialism, and Democratic Socialism are greatly different things. Democratic Socialism is simply a country that has but restraints, restrictions, and rules on capitalism to increase the wellbeing of the population. Ask yourself who the country should work for, the people or a system of making money. Capitalism unrestrained, unrestricted is destructive by its very nature. A country is formed and is for the well being of the people. Unrestrained capitalism is harmful to those very people. Therefore, it is the job of government to restrain and regulate capitalism. Here are some countries that use a varying degree of Democratic Socialism, Canda, the US, the UK, Germany, France, and so many more. It is not the boogieman right wing media wants to make it out to be.

              Even though it’s tempting to believe that the problems of inequality and poverty could readily be solved by a perfectly managed state-run economy, we must not forget that only capitalist societies have been successful in achieving the highest levels of freedom and equal opportunity that we treasure.

              Every capitalist society has been a state-run economy. Sorry, but even the US is. No country exists without rules, and those rules govern the economy. The difference is in the US right wing media has demonized any restrictions on business. Why religious leaders go along with the mistaken idea that curtailing the worst abuses is harmful and wrong is a mystery to me. Think of capitalism as a child, and government as the adult. Government has to reign in the worst impulses of the child for the good of everyone.

              I Have to run, I just found out I need to make a tomato meat sauce for supper tonight. Hugs

              Liked by 1 person

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