It's common in liberal Christian circles to imagine that the early Church was a socialist paradise, or that the intentions of Jesus were closer to a pseudo-Marxist flavored society than some vile, greed laced Capitalist nightmare. True, Capitalism in the hands of a godless, hedonistic and narcissistic culture will likely prove to be no better than Communism. That's something advocates of Capitalism and the Free Market must remember. Today, Capitalism embraced by our godless age has turned the best of Capitalism on its head. Sure, the worst results haven't been felt - yet. Right now, we still see the boon that historic Capitalism brought to the world.
But it's not hard to see how this boon could fade away. Shorn of a Christian foundation, a Protestant work ethic if you would, Capitalism has turned away from the old idea of increased quality at lower prices while providing opportunities for expansion and job creation as the preferred consequences of a market free form outside interference. Instead, what we increasingly see is a market trying to figure out how to give the least possible, with the lousiest quality and smallest quantity, for the highest prices possible while employing as few people with the lowest possible benefits imaginable. That isn't good. But it isn't necessarily Capitalism either.
Like most things in human history, Capitalism is man made and therefore less than divine. As such, it will have flaws built into it; flaws that can either be overcome or exploited. In our age of godlessness and greed, narcissism and hedonism, they have become exploited. And they have been exploited precisely by those forces of individual self focus and disregard for the divine that traditional supporters of Capitalism once believed to be so important; exploited precisely by those advocates of Socialism who are using the decay of godless Capitalism as a reason to embrace Socialism.
Despite this, we need to look beyond the abuses of the Capitalist approach to what Socialism and Communism have done in their best of days. I've often said that the Christian West, as well as America, were at worst on the same level as other civilizations when those civilizations were at their normal. But at best, the Christian West and especially American experiment soared beyond what humanity had ever seen.
The same is true for Capitalism. Abused by godless and self-focused generations, of course the results will be bad. But it's unlikely it will be as bad as the worst that Socialism and Communism have produced. On the other hand, Capitalism, when done right, even if it will always fall prey to fallen human nature, has brought more well being, more prosperity, more care and opportunity than all of the Socialist and Communist experiments have in their best days. Given that fact alone, it's difficult to imagine that Jesus had in mind an approach that, when tried time and again, has all too often brought poverty and want, oppression and squalor. It's equally hard to imagine that the early Church thrived under a system that, when tried today, produces societies that are at best no better than Capitalist nations and often far worse.
In this article, a different alternative to the Communist Jesus spiel is presented. It's worth the read. If for no other reason than to remember that there are alternatives to the propaganda presented by much of our media and educational institutions and heartily embraced by not a small number of Christians and Christian leaders.
I'm curious how you mean "no better" that communism because so far capitalism has had the much lower body count.ReplyDelete
If you mean it's not perfect, or it will no more save your soul, then that's fair.
But then it has never made any pretense about perfecting man or saving souls - that's been communism which claimed it could.
When I watch some people compare them, it strikes me as comparing an honest car mechanic to a snake oil salesman. The mechanic promises that he'll make your car run like new. The other guy says snake oil will fix everything wrong with you. Then after someone tries the snake oil and finds it fixes nothing, they turn to the mechanic and said, "you can't fix anything about my life either!" And he replies, "I never said I could. Just your car."
It's hard to say what the result will be. I have faith in fallen humanity's ability to make horrible products from saintly ingredients. When I think of capitalism vs. communism, I think of alcohol vs. illegal drugs. At the end of the day, illegal drugs are for getting high and nothing else, and they cause tremendous damage and harm. Alcohol, on the other hand, can be for those things, but it doesn't have to be. A nice glass of wine, a cold beer on a hot summer day, wine as an ingredient for cooking Italian food. Lots of good things with no harm at all. But again, with the wrong use and abuse, alcohol can almost rival drugs in its own way.ReplyDelete