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By R. J. Rushdoony
April 11, 2006

CA Farmer 230:12 (June 21, 1969), p. 26.

Recently one of my daughters gave me a photographic reproduction of a menu from 1843. The restaurant was New York’s finest, Delmonico’s. The price of a full dinner was exactly twelve cents. Has food gone up in price since then? Not really; money has simply become cheaper.

About the time of the war (1938–39), a friend built a lovely home for $7,500, with the tile of the roof handmade by an able craftsman, the cabinet work custom made, and so on. Today that house is worth $100,000. It is the same house, thirty years older, but money is now cheaper.

A man I know has been married twenty-seven years. When he married his wife, they were the same age, but he is now five years older than she! She has changed the count.

Many jokes are made about fishermen using a rubber tape measure to judge the size of their fish. As a fisherman of sorts, I think we are a much-abused class of people. If fishermen used as elastic a standard as most men do today, they would be reporting whales in the Sacramento River.

Too often we forget that the thing to examine first of all is the yardstick. Now back to that 1843 dinner at Delmonico’s for twelve cents; in 1884, Delmonico’s offered the same full dinner, now with any kind of steak, for four cents; in April 1969, a friend and I had lunch, not dinner, at a fairly good New York restaurant, and it cost several dollars for each of us. The yardstick, money, has changed, not the food. To understand therefore what is happening in America’s economy, the answer is not to complain about the rising price of farm products but to look at the changing yardstick, money.

This is all the more true in the realm of public and private life. We cannot understand what is happening to the world unless we have a yardstick to judge the world, and ourselves, by. The only true yardstick is the Bible.

Nothing can be measured without a standard of measurement. If the standard is wrong, everything else is then out of line. This means that the principle of measure must be absolutely trustworthy or else nothing valid can follow.

The only absolutely trustworthy principle of measurement, the yardstick of man and society, is God’s Word. Man, church, state, school, and all society must be judged in terms of it. Apart from Christ and His Word, God’s judgment on us is, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,” “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting” (Dan. 5:25–28).


Topics: American History, Biblical Law, Culture , Economics, Education, Justice, Reformed Thought, Theology

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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