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Political Ideology versus Caring
The Early Christian Church
Supports a Caring, Sharing Society
The Daily Walk with Miracles, February 17, 2016, by Paul Evans, video courtesy of Peter, Paul and Mary and YouTube. (Note: the Free Music57 + politics banner at the top of each post is a link to the Home page.)
With thanks to my friends in Microsoft and the Bilderberg Group.
Both on the basis of pure materialistic (philosophical) arguments and from philosophical idealism and the world of faith, it is strongly apparent to me that we need a more caring, sharing society. Here we will explore arguments from the Christian faith supporting a much more caring and more sharing society.
Here at Free Music57 + politics, we are basically Biblical literalists (although it seems to us that portions must be interpreted spiritually, just as Jesus taught in parables which are not directly straightforward). At any rate, some quotes from the Bible are troubling to those of us who are conservative. Take “…and they held their goods in common,” from Acts, which seems almost to be a Christian proof that a more sharing society (with more charity) are in any survivable future for the world.
First, however, here a few definitions the political scientists use. “Socialism” is an economic system where the government owns the “means of production” or infrastructure. Leninism, Stalinism and Maoism are variants on this where the government is a dictatorship and there is a police state, usually with political prisons.
Facism, as defined in political science is, unfortunately, the basis of any political system which has two primary characteristics. First, a corporate-government partnership (and in the U.S. more than half of all Federal employees actually work first and foremost for private companies and corporations), and secondly, what is referred to (in a self-explanatory way) as “the security state,” as in Homeland Security. So the United States under any political consideration IS a fascist government. ((Let me be the first to say that there IS NO direct comparison with Nazi Germany, or Mussolini’s Italy. The U.S. retains its democratic forms (Congress and the Supreme Court, for example) and that American fascism is largely an equal opportunity employer)).
That the early Christian church existed under a communal, though “top down,” economic regime is undeniable. For example, consider, “and there was no poverty in the church, because whenever the church had need, a rich, pious landowner would sell off a piece of his property and give the proceeds to the church” (paraphrase). Thus, in this relatively small association, economics was handled in a fully communal, but also somewhat “top down” manner. And churches remain somewhat sharing or community-governed organizations, don’t they? (The degree to which church “government” was fully top down, or governed by an oligarchy or a few people, served as one of the main motivations in the Protestant reformation.)
In larger social groups, or almost all large nations, the experience has thus far been somewhat unsuccessful. The only exception I might point at would be China, but here notice that China has a mixed or “economically pragmatic” economy. As Deng Xiaoping said, “I don’t care whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice,” and introduced capitalism into Red China. And the introduction of of capitalistic enterprises into Red China has appealed to the Chinese peasants selfish but VERY understandable wish to better their status and enter the 21st century in matters of consumerism and technology. Communalism or socialism in large societies has thus far always needed to be coerced from somewhat unwilling citizens.
Capitalism appeals to people’s desire to better their situation. Man is mostly fallen and selfish and a capitalist system appeals to them. Moreover, capitalism is the correct economic engine in any “social darwinist” consideration. Competition drives the engine in society for growth, for increasing IQ and for educational fitness, and is good medicine for the future human genome. The time for purely sharing arrangements such as socialism and pure (small “c”) communism may come someday, but it is not, realistically speaking, in humanity’s near future, in any arrangement which does not involve some sort of coercion.
There is another, very vital consideration. Jesus gave Christians only two commandments, to love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. What could be more of a straightforwardly loving way to base a society than a society based on sharing of resources and the means of production, too? Of course, “the devil is in the details,” and any socialistic government struggles against the fact that people are inherently selfish, which appeals to capitalist forms. Probably a rich, died-in-the-wool hypercapitalist CEO would declare otherwise, but, to me, socialism, or some kind of communalism, is the very essence of a Christian way to base a society, in terms of economic theory. So far in history, due to competition with other purely capitalist regimes and people’s selfishness, as well as their attachment to the “old order” of things, communalistic regimes have had to be top down or dictatorial. In some ways this does exist, even in the United States, but it is “disguised,” and suffers from a lot of attacks on it from those on the right. Nonetheless a sharing society seems to me to be very Christian in some ways.
If humanity is to survive, ultimately we must embrace a more sharing sort of economic system. There are just too many people and too few resources to continue as we have been. One excllent website which provides ideas and concrete help on how to base our own lives on sharing (things as simple as carpooling) is Shareable, which I highly recommend. Another resource is a really useful book called Share or die (Amazon.com, Kindle, $9.99).
I cannot emphasize it enough: there are now too many people and too few resources left for things to just go on as they have been. And I believe the world is ripe for change in this direction. Let me make clear that I believe that even capitalist forms can be much more caring towards its people than ours is today. And remember, sharing starts with each one of us, individually. For example, did you know that all of the starving people in the world could readily be fed with the left-over or “left on the plate” food which Americans simply discard?
Quo Vadis, United States?
The United States, with our obsession about money, is far (perhaps a couple of hundred years?) away from popularly embracing any sort of caring socialism or anthing like it. This is a FACT that America’s left must face. ((Speaking of materialism, aren’t the only “things” that matter in our lives not actually these “things” at all — not our fancy houses and cars — but our good friends and lovers: isn’t that outside of money and free for everyone? “They can’t take that away from me.”)) How I wish those with wealth and power could perceive this deeply enough. Bill Gates “gets it,” and so gave half of his billions to a charity. In this regard, the consumerist and Presidential candidate Ralph Nader recently published a book, “Only the Super Rich Can Save Us,” if only they have a change of heart.
The United States, like the Roman Empire in Jesus’ time, has become almost fully a New World Order empire. Bernie Sanders is about the only serious candidate who actually gives any promise to disentangle America from so many overseas commitments. One can only hope. Did you know that, currently, the United States spends ten times what China AND Russia spend together on “defense?” We retain, however, some semblance of a democratic government, and many Americans in fact would die to preserve this. But to me, if you study the history of the Roman Empire, it was actually DOOMED the moment the Senate lost its real power and Rome became an Empire at all! There were seven centuries of strong growth for Rome leading up to Julius Caesar. Then it took only about three centuries of empire before western Rome fell. “History teaches us that we don’t learn from history.” Well, it appears the U.S. is committed to empire, certainly in terms of influence globally, according to the 1950’s doctrine of “American Exceptionalism,” which I fully support. I only wish to enter a plaintive plea here: Take care of your citizens! The “misery index” sits at 32, yet was only 28.5 in 1929, just as the economy crashed. So you take away half our food stamps? The misery index is an excellent predictor of the economic future. Ron Paul warned you, America. Either this iteration of the Roman Empire we have become either gets it right, or we realize that an overseas empire is NOT a successful strategy for the United States, or else we are looking at nuclear winter, I tell you prophetically. Failing now is not an option.
So these are some thoughts about all this political ideology, and the not-widely-appreciated fact that the outward economic forms don’t matter that much, that all that matters is that we Be CARING in thought and in word and in deed. If we call ourselves Christian, how can we not be CARING and build a caring society? Any economic system will do, and America’s political forms are the best the world has seen, so far as I am concerned. We need to stop killing and hurting each other over these ideologies. All this does is cause the whole world pain. Why not take a close look at “economic pragmatism,” where we retain a basically capitalist system but have some features which are more national, or even socialistic? The outward form of government is nowhere near as important as are the people who serve it, the degree of corruption, and whether fair, caring laws are passed. Did the Nazi “solution” accomplish much for Germany? Is Russia better off today than it was before WWI and revolution? No. The outward form of government is OK the way we have it now, with reforms.
Yes, a corporate-government partnership COULD actually be a good thing, but “the tail is wagging the dog” now in America. We need to take back our government from the big corporations which control it. The answer is publicly funded elections. The politicians are mostly good Christians but end up selling their souls politically to get the money from corporate America they need to be re-elected. Publically funded elections take influence and lobbyists out of the picture, in large part. I believe that the outward “form” of any political system is nowhere near as important as the men who run the government and IF they are able to pass caring legislation. WHAT MATTERS IS THAT WE PASS CARING LAWS, laws that help and encourage the People. As the democratically elected Prime Minister of Burma said, “the only true revolution is a revolution of the heart.
Could Obama just roll the dice and nationalize the banks? I would. Then mount one hell of a PR campaign TRUTHFULLY telling the world why: an utterly unbelievable bank debt of so very many trillions you would scarcely believe it if I told you. All because of the investment banks’ greed. A little greed is a Good thing, it’s the basis of capitalism and money isn’t evil, it’s just that it’s only a means to and end. But too much greed will come back and bite you in the ass, America. That’s a sort of economic karma. Probably Bush’s main evil was the he trusted the Goldman Sachs people — the Rubinites — to run the economy. Their greed, actually, has us mortgaged to a $127 TRILLION bank debt from underwater and foreclosed mortgages. Well their greed has us terribly in debt and we are facing possibly a very bad depression, as Ron Paul warned us. Cosmetic fixes won’t cut it, although it might not be too late. Nationalize the banks, Obama, and compassionate conservatives will ultimately be with you, once they understand. That is the MINIMUM solution that might work: Obama, nationalize the big banks. Amen.
Peter, Paul and Mary
If I Had A Hammer (1963)
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