All Commentary
Sunday, March 1, 1981

Book Review: The Coming Victory by Tom Rose and Robert Metcalf

Christian Studies Center, P.O. Box 1110, Memphis, Tennessee 38111)
192 pages • $6.95 paperback

This book covers a wide range of subjects, from economics and public policy to religion and tips on how to raise children. The basic theme of he book is that liberty is a gift from God. Men stand as free and self-responsible individuals before God. The great sin of modern-day America is that the people have made the civil authority their god. Clearly, the proper role of civil government in a society of free and self-responsible God-created beings is to restrain and punish evil.”

To discover the specifics of what government should or should not do, the authors turn to the Bible. A footnote concerning the energy situation provides an example of the methodology used: “America’s real shortage-of-oil problem stems from a faulty theological approach. The problem exists because the people are turning to the humanist state as a secular savior. Only when this false god-image is set aside and statist controls are done away with will individual initiative be creatively released.”

The authors raise some welcome and provocative questions concerning the voting franchise. “As the voting franchise has been broadened and broadened, there has grown an ever-greater demagogic tendency for elected politicians to strive to gain popularity among the broader voting populace. With promises of new ‘benefits,’ politicians find they can, in effect, buy the votes of those citizens who have little interest in maintaining a stable society over the long haul.” The authors suggest that government might stay within its proper limits of protecting life, liberty and property if those who vote have a stake in each, i.e., if ownership of property were a prerequisite to the privilege of voting. They suggest “it is dangerous when the vote is given to non-propertied individuals, for their vote often undermines property rights.” Unfortunately, the general nature of the book permits only cursory examination of this controversial subject.

The methodology of the authors leads them astray in their discussion of corporate responsibility. They accept the popular notion that the limited liability corporation is “a fictitious person created by fiat of the state.” Evidently the authors missed Robert Hessen’s able refutation of this myth in his recent book, In Defense of the Corporation.

The authors interpret their belief that man is responsible to God to mean that individuals should not be able to limit their responsibility to other men—that limiting liability in contractual business activities is wrong. They write, “The principle which should guide all business activity is this: Those who stand to reap the profits of enterprise should also stand all the risks involved.” Limited liability, like insurance, certainly minimizes personal responsibility for risks undertaken, yet it would exist in any society where government is properly limited since it is based on voluntary contract.

The authors ably diagnose many of the political and economic problems facing the United States. They correctly trace the cause of these problems to a spiritual weakness ant suggest a number of ways to overcome the political, economic, and especially the moral problems which plague our civilization.