Elizabeth Warren’s 11 Commandments for Progressives–A Berean Response

Posted on July 18, 2014 by


Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren came out with her 11 Commandments today.  For some reason I think 10 Commandments would be better.  But in any case, here they are, with this Berean’s counter following in italics:


  1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”  Bereans believe that Wall Street should not be subsidized by the taxpayer, and we would be better served by less rules but higher capital requirements. Then we will have incentive compatibility–it will be in Wall Street’s interest to behave prudently when their capital (not the taxpayer’s) is at risk
  2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”  Bereans believe in God, and that means we have stewardship responsibilities to care for and use the Earth for God’s glory
  3.  “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”  Bereans don’t usually imagine that everything is rigged against the little guy, but we do fear that “real net neutrality” will mean politically connected interests will likely impede the common interest when politicians get involved.
  4.  “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”  Bereans believe that no law should be made that makes it illegal for someone with low skills to get a job, and we therefore oppose the minimum wage as immoral.  In large part because we believe in economic science, and this leads us to conclude that demand curves do, in fact, slope downward.  To the extent that there should be a social policy to support low income workers, this should be paid for by all taxpayers, not simply “rich businesses.”
  5. “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”  Bereans question how an objective living wage can be determined, and further believe that in competitive markets workers are paid according to their marginal revenue product, i.e., the worker is worth his wage.  We don’t join people in picket lines asking for wages that are greater than their productivity.  If their skills are valued by others at a higher wage, they should leave their current job in search of the higher wage.  The fact that they don’t is prima facia evidence that they are fairly paid where they are.  
  6.  “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”  Bereans don’t believe in entitlements; we do believe in education but encourage students to wisely choose both their educational institution and their choice of major wisely to avoid the debt.  Bereans also believe that rich donors should give generously to Cedarville University to allow us to reduce tuition!  🙂
  7.  “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”  Bereans still don’t believe in entitlements, but we also believe the best social security is well-raised children.  We also believe that people will retire with dignity when they prudently save and invest over the course of their lifetimes.  Bereans also believe that government should not create ponzi schemes that cannot be paid, as this encourages people to fail to provide for themselves. 
  8. “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.” Bereans believe that markets generally reward work with equal pay.  Most studies that control for other variables (experience, hours worked per week, time in the labor force, etc.) find that women make ~95% of what males make, unlike the 77% quoted by progressives.  We also believe that if progressives are correct, then they simply should band together and hire all these underpaid females; their competitive cost advantage will reap tremendous profits and pay women better wages.  The fact that no one is doing this seems odd, given how greedy progressives generally believe businesses are.
  9. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”  Bereans generally find the struggle of equality both compelling and odd.  In the only thing that matters, our standing before a just and holy God, we are truly equal.  In almost every other area God has endowed us differently such that calls for equality would necessitate unequal treatment.  Further, Bereans reject the implicit calls for homosexual marriage.  Marriage is not a creation of the state and should not be dictated by political considerations–it was/is God’s idea.
  10. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”  Bereans would not disagree with this, however we would likely disagree with what Ms. Warren would mean by reform.
  11. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”  Bereans believe that religious freedom means corporations as well as people should not be be forced to pay for what many consider abortifacients. 

And the main tenet of conservatives’ philosophy, according to Warren? “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.  Bereans believe the main tenet of conservative philosophy is that while we must always make progress, our current institutions reflect the wisdom of the ages–the wisdom embedded in the knowledge of millions of people over millennia.  Bereans consider the intelligence of the most elite members of our society as paltry compared to the systemic knowledge embedded in our existing institutions (many of which also contain the wisdom of God, such as the institution of marriage, or the biblical role of government).  Thus Bereans believe that we ought to exercise caution before we make “progress,” otherwise in our progressive hubris we will create many unintended consequences that are detrimental to those we intend to help.