Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Death and Capitalism

From Second Terrace:

...the Christian Right complains about abortion, the destruction of embryos, hyper-socialism, termination of the aged and disabled, and the chic redefinition of aberrant sexual proclivity as conferring "minority" status – these are all issues about which I wholeheartedly agree with my right-wing heterodox friends.

But they are not-so-strangely silent, in their insouciance, about encroaching totalitarianism, consumerism, war-as-aggrandizement, environmental rapine, and hyper-capitalism: these concerns are just as Biblical, and should be just as salient -- even in such a restricted view thatsola scripturaallows.

You would be hard pressed to find a fundamentalist Christian who will say a critical word about capitalism, given their multi-generational catechism that defines the Beast as a red communist for sure. If you turn the radio dial enough, late at night (or the url-bar), you can still hear the static of cheap polyester declaiming Gog and Magog at the Kremlin.


  1. orrologion said...

    This election brought a question to the fore for me: does my faith require me to vote for smaller government and tax cuts? Sure it is important to give personally and not just vote for the government to use someone else's money (i.e., tax 'them; borrow and let our grandchildren pay) to do good things, but that doesn't mean I can't pay a lot in taxes and also give personally in addition.

    Add into the pot the fact that the Republican President and Congress (until 2 years ago) were far from 'conservative' in their taxing and spending ways and I had to ask: if the conservatives don't believe in conservativism, why should I?

    It brought into focus the fact that I really don't care about government. I have opinions, and those opinions are based on reading the Constitution (esp. the 10th Amendment), the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville, but they are all passe to today's legal elites. No one pays attention to them anymore, so why should I? Like I said, I don't really care but my preference would be for smaller, limited government because that seems to be what the highest law in the land says we should have - it also protect me when 'their' guy is in power, meaning I have to restrain 'my' guy when he's in power to protect 'them'. Detente.

    I am really just a Christian, and it is only those values and beliefs I care about. I only care about the government making me complicit in its actions or in stepping into my personal business. Taxes are theirs. Whatever they do with the taxes is theirs. They can squeeze my small business and prefer large ones, or vice versa. There is nothing 'bad' about a welfare state - in some ways it's buying off violence and just redirecting the money we would have spent on wars (see Niall Ferguson's "War of the World" on that one). For that matter, there's nothing 'bad' about monarchy or theocracy or atheistic state: we'll struggle and suffer all the same (the Orthodox didn't have an ideal time under Orthodox Emperors and Tsars after all, which should prove the fact.)

    All that being said, the murder of 1.5 million children a year with no truly extenuating circumstances to make the choice more complex ranks higher on the sin-o-meter than does not recycling motor oil and aluminum cans. That much should be obvious. The most 'self evident' of all rights should obviously be Life. Of course, death has been trampled down by death already, so death is really no such thing for such innocents that have never truly left God to join us - He's just kept them with Him.

  2. Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

    Interesting quote.

    Usually when I hear "consumerism" it's argued by leftists whose idol is the environment. Trouble is, we only hear that pericope about being worth more than a few sparrows once a year. :)

    War-as-aggrandizement? Like military action coinciding with a sex and perjury scandal during a previous presidency? Where were the liberals then on this issue?

    As for hyper-capitalism, this has been let out of check by government protecting corporations and Fannie/Freddie from the consequences of their actions. If we had had a natural recession years ago, it wouldn't have been as bad, and we'd already be over it. There is no forgiveness in the natural world. If a company goes bankrupt, debt doesn't magically disappear. The company's creditors take it in the shorts. It's a lesson to creditors to measure risk better.

    Yeah, you can preach some of these as moral issues, but to tie them to Christianity a) draws attention away from the Gospel and b) closes off the arguments from non-Christians. Indeed, God knew what he was talking about, but there are ways to argue these things that include people who don't believe in the Triune God and thus gain their political support.

    On the other hand, I am concerned that we have a Christian Right and Left because preachers can't get Christ, much less Law and Gospel, right in their pulpits. Catholics who support abortion? Protestants who buy into assisted suicide? Don't we have some clues from Scripture about murder? Oh, that Bible is an allegory? Did God really say?

    Come, Lord Jesus. Either that, or fire up the Large Hadron Collider and suck us all up in a black hole. :)