Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
the Law Lords argued it has been a fundamental principle of English Law that the accused should be able to see his accusers and challenge them,a line almost exactly parallel to Festus' explanation of his conduct in Acts 25:16:
I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him.Indeed, the way the Deuteronomic handling of witnesses is presented, it sounds like it was a condition of law in Ancient Israel, too. Clearly, not every aspect of Israel's legal system can be copied in our present day: I would argue, to take a counter-example, that the existence of prisons makes certain punishments prescribed in the Torah to be unnecessary.However, the way we handle witnesses is simply a function of human relations and the way we exercise justice. As long as we believe in the value of evidence in law, we need witnesses. And as long as we believe in the aim of justice as the fiding out of truth, we must believe in testing those witnesses for their reliability. Finally, as long as we believe Blackstone's ratio to be greater than one, we must ensure that, subject to the normal standards of behaviour, the defence is not hampered in its efforts.It would be yet another erosion of justice as preserved within our common law tradition—a tradition with roots in British history, Roman law and also biblical example—for the government to abandon the principle that witness testimony must be open to dispute by the defence.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
- Wahhabism is fundamentally a movement of the written word.
- Salafism credits the Qur'an with inerrancy.
- Wahhabism believes in an ad fontes approach to the Qur'anic canon.
- Wahhabism holds to Mathison's famed "Tradition I".
- Wahhabism advocates the necessity of the individual conscience in matters of religion, and yet is willing to enforce moral conduct.
- Wahhabism calls on the wider Muslim brotherhood to abandon the veneration of saints and the seeking of their intercessions.
His only righteousness I show,In a sense, it sums up what we as Christians are all about. It's Christ's righteousness that we have, not any of our own; his saving grace which gives to us all that is needful. And that induces in us a response of grateful evangelism, as we are pleased to take hold of chances to tell other people about the Lord who gave everything for us.From Davies' "Great God of wonders", a verse that isn't sung so often, but for all that is quite something.
His saving grace proclaim;
’Tis all my business here below
To cry “Behold the Lamb!”
Angels and men, resign your claimIt's a wonderful image, starting with all creation declaring that before the God of the universe, we can pretend no claim to pity, or mercy, or love, or grace, and moving us swiftly to see that these qualities, which belong to him alone, are, as a blaze of light, his crown.
To pity, mercy, love and grace:
These glories crown Jehovah’s Name
With an incomparable blaze.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The beloved pastor of this church, preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified, as all the sinner can need, and all the saint can desire.Of course, some may say that perhaps one only needs preach Christ and him crucified some of the time. Not so Mote! Once when he was offered the title deeds of the church by his grateful congregation, he said, "I do not want the chapel, I only want the pulpit; and when I cease to preach Christ, then turn me out of that."Would that Mote's spirit animated pastors in Britain today, eh?
Monday, June 09, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
For instance, the FairTrade "social premium", paid to the farmer or community for development purposes, is wrapped in all sorts of rules about how it may be spent, and who may administer, and about the democratic structure that has to be set up, and it's all terribly bureaucratic and cumbersome. It smacks of a Western colonial mindset, in which the ex-patriate governor thinks "I'd awfully like to help them develop, but I can't possibly trust them with the money". Why can't traditional social structures be used to administer the money? Why must Westerners insist that Africans and Latin Americans follow Western social patterns?
Or take, on the other side of the coin, labour-saving machinery. So far from offering advice on appropriate ways to improve yields and decrease labour costs by using new techniques and chemicals or acquiring modern machinery, noises one hears now and again from the FairTrade lobby tend to suggest that some of them are Ludd redivivus. Take the socially-acceptable but ill-informed fascination with "traditional techniques" and "organic farming". Take, for example, this, from Global Exchange .
Q. Are Fair Trade products also organic or shade grown?Sustainability, of course, is a good aim, but is organic produce really better for local communities—better even than being able to produce enough crops to pay for food, school, medicines and more besides? We must leave traditional techniques well alone, they say. Never mind that we in the West had our own "traditional techniques" to grow out of in order to make progress in growing more food with less labour. Never mind that agricultural advance frees labour to stop working in the fields and start working in the factories. Never mind that industry, not agriculture, makes a nation rich.
A. No, but Fair Trade criteria require sustainable farming techniques, and offer an extra premium for organic production. Revenues from Fair Trade cooperatives are often used to train producers in organic and sustainable techniques like composting and integrating recycled materials. Most Fair Trade coffee and cocoa are shade grown and organic because these are the traditional methods used by small farmers- approximately 80-85% of all Fair Trade coffee farms do not use pesticides. Organic and shade-grown methods are important for the health of local communities and the earth, so look for these labels on Fair Trade to support the best of all worlds.
Well, that's all quite negative, and I have a lot of friends at church who are deeply into FairTrade, to whom I'm just not sure I have the heart to explain that there are deep cracks in the FairTrade system. Additionally, it can be hard to argue against the point that a Third World farmer receiving more money is a good thing rather than a bad thing. Indeed, FairTrade does help some farmers and alleviate some problems.
But I can make a positive case, which is for something a little different, and which would have far greater effects than any amount of FairTrade subsidy. Briefly, the problems at our end surrounding this question are not to do with the prices paid for cocoa beans but, as I hope you've realised by now, the fact that we don't see many chocolate bars which say "Made in Cote d'Ivoire."
I wrote to the FairTrade Foundation recently asking this question. One thing the reply said was that some producers are investing in First World processing facilities. That was more concerning than comforting, in that it's probably more important for the plant to be in the Third World than its owners. They only take the profits, whereas the workforce gets the wages.
More helpfully, the reply did highlight a few problems with getting manufactured goods exported from the Third World to Europe in particular. Of note as things we in the EU can change are tariffs designed to protect home industries and regulatory standards— some standards are necessary, but I'd lay good money some are simple protectionism. In other words, freeing our trade with the rest of the world and eliminating that monstrosity called the CAP will give us access to cheaper goods and give the Third World access to richer markets, as well as encouraging investment into those countries which so desperately need it. So who's the loser in that story?
Old-fashioned free trade, you see, is the best sort of FairTrade there is.
 Fair Trade Q&A, Global Exchange.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
 Smell the coffee, The Sola Panel. I ought to point out that The Sola Panel is not an arm of MM.
 Unfair Trade (.pdf), Adam Smith Institute.