Gary North (economist)
|Gary Kilgore North|
Gary North speaking in 2013.
|Born||February 1942 (age 74)|
|Education||Ph.D. in History, University of California, Riverside|
|Occupation||Christian social theorist, economist, blogger, author|
|Known for||Cofounder of Christian Reconstructionism|
|Religion||Christian (Presbyterian Church in America)|
Gary Kilgore North (born February 1942) is an American Christian Reconstructionist theorist and economic historian. North has authored or coauthored over fifty books on topics including Christian theology, economics, and history. He is an Associated Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
He is known for his advocacy of Biblically-influenced "radically libertarian" economics and also for his support for theocracy. He supports the establishment of religious law, a view which has put him in conflict with other libertarians. Particularly controversial are his views on capital punishment, which he believes is appropriate punishment for a wide variety of crimes.
Education and background
North grew up in southern California, the son of FBI special agent Samuel W. North, Jr., and his wife, Peggy. North converted to Christianity in high school and began frequenting conservative book-stores in the Los Angeles area during his college years. Between 1961 and 1963, while an undergraduate student at University of California, Riverside, North became acquainted with the works of Wilhelm Röpke, Rose Wilder Lane, Cornelius Van Til, Austrian School economists Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Murray Rothbard, and also read the works of Calvinist philosopher Rousas John Rushdoony. Later he married Rushdoony's daughter, collaborated with him and eulogized Rushdoony in a blog post on LewRockwell.com.
Starting in 1967, North became a contributor to the libertarian journal The Freeman where he had first read the work of Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. In the 1970s, he was the director of seminars for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). North received a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Riverside in 1972. His dissertation was The Concept of Property in Puritan New England, 1630–1720.
He served as research assistant for libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul in Paul's first term (1976). North is a regular contributor to the LewRockwell.com website, which lists an extensive archive of his articles there. North's own website, Garynorth.com, posts commentary on religious, social, and political issues and offers paid access to investment advice and other premium content. North also publishes a blog called Deliverance from Debt which provides advice about relief from debt. Another North website, "Free Christian Curriculum", seeks to provide a free Christian homeschooling curriculum for children from age 3 through grade 12.
Ron Paul curriculum
In addition, North offers the Ron Paul Curriculum, a home school online curriculum associated with former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, which is free for grades K-5 and available to paid members from grades 6–12. As Director of Curriculum Development, North has outlined four goals of the educational project: providing a "detailed study" of the "history of liberty"; teaching a "thorough understanding of Austrian economics"; serving as "an academically rigorous curriculum that is tied to primary source" material rather than textbooks; and teaching "the Biblical principle of self-government and personal responsibility", which North calls "the foundation of the market economy".
Christian, Bible-based economic methodology
North has written that the "starting point for all economic analysis" lies in the fact that "God [has] cursed the earth" in Genesis 3:17–19; this "made scarcity an inescapable fact of man's existence". In his 1982 Dominion Covenant: Genesis, North wrote that mainstream modern economics, whether libertarian, conservative or liberal, is "in disintegration" because it is "humanist" in its approach and consequently rejects the notion that "biblical revelation" is necessary for sound economic theory. He also wrote that economics "must begin with the [Biblical] story of creation" if it is not to collapse into "total chaos".
Proposed "Christian theocratic" political and social order
A 2011 New York Times article identified North as a central figure in Christian Reconstructionism, the philosophy which advocates the institution of "a Christian theocracy under Old Testament law [as] the best form of government, and a radically libertarian one." North has written: "I certainly believe in biblical theocracy."
The article also described North as "the leading proponent of 'Christian economics,' which applies biblical principles to economic issues and the free market." North supports the abolition of the fractional-reserve banking system and a return to the gold standard. According to the Times, North believes that the Bible forbids inflation, welfare programs, and also writes that "God would prefer gold money to paper".
Range of capital offenses
North favors capital punishment for a range of offenders, including murderers, blasphemers, children who curse their parents, male homosexuals, and other people who commit some of the acts deemed capital offenses in the Old Testament. (North believes that the death penalty for sabbath breaking and some other crimes no longer applies.) North stated that the biblical admonition to kill homosexuals in Leviticus is God's "law and its morally appropriate sanction", arguing that "God is indeed a homophobe" who "hates the practice [of homosexuality] and those who practice it" and "hates the sin and hates the sinner."
North has said that capital punishment should be carried out by stoning, because it is the biblically approved method of execution and it is cheap due to the plentiful and convenient supply of stones.
North said: "We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God."
Adam C. English suggests that this quote implies that "religious liberty is a useful tool to Christians in the present, yet is ultimately to be denied to anyone who is not Christian once the Christians are in power". English argues that although this may seem inconsistent (advocating religious liberty but denying the reality of the notion), North and his fellow Reconstructionists understand "liberty" in a theological sense. According to the Reconstructionists, "anyone outside of the Christian faith is in bondage," and so "government by rigorous theonomy is not oppressive but liberating".
North was also a prominent promoter of the Y2K scare during the late 1990s, earning him the nickname "Scary Gary." His main Web site became dominated by links to extremist predictions for Y2K damage, including widespread collapse of governments, financial institutions and more. North declared on his home page that Y2K "may be the biggest problem that the modern world has ever faced" and labeled 2000 as "The Year the Earth Stands Still".
Critics said the motivation for North's predictions was linked to his Christian Reconstructionist aims, which require widespread societal collapse to set the stage for a new theocratic order. North made the connection explicit in communications with fellow Reconstructionists: "The Y2K crisis is systemic. It cannot possibly be fixed. I think it will wipe out every national government in the West. Not just modify them—destroy them...That is what I have wanted all my adult life. In my view, Y2K is our deliverance."
Institute for Christian Economics
North is the founder of the Institute for Christian Economics (I.C.E.), which publishes online books and magazines focusing on Christian ethics. ICE, along with Dominion Press in Tyler, Texas, are important sources for Reconstructionist publications.
Books and newsletters
North has authored or coauthored more than fifty books, many of which are available for free download. For many years, North has been the author and editor of the newsletter The Remnant Review. He also provides Gary North's Reality Check, a free e-newsletter.
Documentary and educational film
- Skousen, Mark (2009). The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers. M. E. Sharpe. p. 305.
- "Mises Institute Faculty Listing". Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- "Invitation to a Stoning: Getting cozy with theocrats" by Walter Olson, Reason, November 1998, pages 1 and 2
- Clarkson, Frederick (1995). "Christian Reconstruction: Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence". Eyes Right!: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash. South End Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-89608-523-7.
- Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (1996). Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. Turner. p. 185. ISBN 1-56311-205-1. OCLC 37922781.
- North, Gary. "It All Began With Fred Schwarz". Lew Rockwell. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- Stammer, Larry (March 3, 2001). "The Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony; Advocated Rule by Biblical Law". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Rushdoony, Rousas John; Gary North (3 appendices) (1978). The Institutes of Biblical Law: a Chalcedon Study. Presbyterian and Reformed. p. 890. ISBN 978-0-87552-410-8. OCLC 768429065.
- North, Gary. "RJ Rushdoony, RIP". Lew Rockwell. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- North, Gary (July 28, 2004), What Made Rothbard Great, Ludwig von Mises Institute.
- North, Gary (May 1, 1996). "The Moral Dimension of FEE". The Freeman.
- North, Gary (1972), The Concept of Property in Puritan New England, 1630–1720 (PhD dissertation), OCLC 1902749
- LewRockwell.com Articles by North
- Why You Should Join This Members-Only Community Forum, Garynorth.com, accessed July 27, 2014.
- Gary North, Deliverance from Debt blog, accessed July 27, 2013.
- Free Christian Curriculum website, accessed July 27, 2013.
- Announcing: The Ron Paul Curriculum Is Open for Business, Gary North website, April 6, 2013
- Gary North, A Q&A Dialogue for Newcomers, RonPaulCurriculum.com.
- Bump, Philip (April 9, 2013). "Ron Paul's Home Schooling Curriculum Will Turn Your Kid into a Little Ron Paul." The Atlantic Wire
- Oppenheimer, Mark. "'Christian Economics' Meets the Antiunion Movement". New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
- Dominion Covenant: Genesis, Institute for Christian Economics, June 1982.
- Hugh B. Urban, The Secrets of the Kingdom: Religion and Concealment in the Bush Administration Rowman and Littlefield, 56
- Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism Tyler, Tex., Institute for Christian Economics, 1989, x
- On the subject of executing children, North has written "When people curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime... The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death". Gary North, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments (Tyler, Tex.: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), p. 59.
- Gary North, Boundaries and Dominion (1994), chapter 23.
- Sugg, John (December 2005). "A Nation Under God." Mother Jones
- Sugg, John (August 14, 2006). "Public Stoning: Not Just for the Taliban Anymore." Alternet.
- Sugg, John (July–August 2006). "Warped Worldview". Church & State. Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
- Gary North, Boundaries and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Leviticus, (2nd ed., Vol. 1, p. xxvi; 221), 1999.
- Vile, John R. (2003). "Christian Reconstruction". Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789–2002 (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 67. ISBN 1-85109-428-8. OCLC 51553072.
...North favors stoning,...because of the widespread availability of rocks....
- North, Gary (1982). "The Intellectual Schizophrenia of the New Christian Right". In Jordan, James B. The Failure of the American Baptist Culture. Christianity and Civilization. Geneva Divinity School. p. 25. ISBN 0-939404-04-4. ISSN 0278-8187.
- English, Adam C. (2003). "Christian Reconstruction after Y2K: Gary North, the New Millennium, and Religious Freedom". New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America. Baylor University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-918954-92-3.
- English, "Christian Reconstruction after Y2K," p. 117.
- "Year 2000 Survivalists," Forbes
- "The Doomsday Seekers, Arkansas Times
- "Some Perspecttives 5 Years After Y2K," "eWeek"
- "Y2K Alarmist: Wha' Happened" "Wired"
- "Recriminations "Recriminations Pour in Against Prophets of Y2K Doom / Followers demand apologies for their wasted effort, money". SFGate.
- "Apocalyptic "Apocalyptic Fever". google.com.
- "Gary North's Y2K Links and Forums" (archived)
- "New "New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America". google.com.au.
- "What Is The ICE?". Retrieved July 25, 2013.
The Institute for Christian Economics is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization which is devoted to research and publishing in the field of Christian ethics.
- Journals from I.C.E. include:
- Ingersoll, Julie J. (January 1, 1999). "Reconstructionist Christianity". Contemporary American Religion (from HighBeam Research). Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- "Free Books from the Institute for Christian Economics". Entrewave. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Back Issues of Gary North's Reality Check, accessed July 27, 2013.
- Official website
- "Super-Cheap Accredited Colleges" on YouTube – video by North, for Lowest cost colleges, which links to Zero debt degrees.