Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Economics and Statism

Ever since I read Money, Greed and God, one of my passing interests lately has been economics. I think there is a lot theology can say about economics--in fact there needs to be a moral and theological component in all human interactions and that includes, I think, economics. I have personally critical of the greed that drive much of capitalism and even worse turns true capitalism in mercantilism. However, I am not convinced that statists solutions to capitalism are the way to go, despite being all the rage in some circles. Greed for money is equally bad as greed for power. If the kingdom of God is concerned with the poor and the oppressed, I am not convinced we cannot link the kingdom of God to the kingdom of man. We can shift oppression through statism solutions but I think we end up creating an equally frightening monster.

That said, my reading list is long and I am not progressing on that front. I do however work through the occasional thought and ponder the issues from an amateur perspective. 

Anyways two things caught my eye in this post. It is an interview with Craig Carter who blogs here. He describes his shift in political views.

First: on statism.
Another thing that happened was that I became aware of the fact that a significant chunk of Evangelicalism was in the process of caving in on homosexuality and that the pansexualists were actually winning not just in the world, but in the Church too. The Parliament of Canada created a fiction called “same-sex marriage” in 2005 and this is surely the beginning of the end of something. I looked around and couldn’t see too many socialists standing up for traditional sexual morality and the family. Only conservatives were doing that. So I thought it was time to throw in my lot with those who were willing to put principle above expediency.
Around this time I also became convinced by the arguments of people like Robert George that economic freedom and the freedom of individuals and the family are inter-related and that a conservative position on both economic and family/morality issues holds together coherently. I think that statism is a far greater threat to human dignity, freedom and prosperity – and to human life itself – than all the so-called dangers of capitalism put together.
I also became aware of the way that appointed bodies called “Human Rights Commissions” were going about earnestly stripping people of their right to free speech in the name of human rights. It is Orwellian in the extreme; for example, a Christian pastor in Calgary was ordered not to speak about homosexuality ever again. Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant stood up to these bureaucratic bullies and shone the searchlight on their madness. And to see the mainstream media and academia just sitting there blinking as liberal democracy was trampled on was a searing experience.
Something else happened that year that I am not at liberty to discuss in order to protect the privacy of innocent people. But I witnessed first-hand the absolutely frightening power and reach of the administrative state and how far the state’s power has grown relative to the shrinking power and freedom of families and individuals. All I can say is that it shocked me into realizing that it was wrong and dangerous to go on promoting statist solutions to social problems. (underline mine)
This is one thing that has struck me as of late. I am not a big fan of the "solutions" on the left, but I am not wholly adoring of every "solution" on the right. My goal would to be equally suspicious of the capitalist as I am of the statist. Yet, the consistent capitalist is willing to create and environment where the  innovative can break into the game (in this case some corporations who consolidate power are not consistent capitalist but favor merchantilism). However I see the chances of balancing greed and distributing power under a system of lawful capitalism. "Who watches the watchers" is my concern when it comes to statism. A top down structure that seeks to channel resources and growth becomes a channel for greed and power. Capitalism does not eliminate greed, but it sufficiently and lawfully practiced it does distribute evil--statism leads to consolidation of power, and we can guess where that has the greater potential to lead.

[as an aside I don't think that Democrat liberals should be labeled as defacto Marxists or socialist, Carl Trueman @Ref21 has rallied as of late against that kind of slander].

The second thing that caught my eye was equally a passing thought I have had but not articulated:
One was the rise of the Evangelical Left and the total support that people like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren gave to the Democratic Party in the run-up to the election of Barack Obama. The degree to which they were in the tank for the Democratic Party meant that they were enablers for the whole liberal agenda including abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, the institutionalization of the sexual revolution, welfare statism and so on. Also disturbing was their attempt to portray themselves as moderates in contrast to the Religious Right, which they demonized. McLaren’s slide into a reprise of early 20th century liberal Protestantism in the name of “Newness” and “Balance” was repulsive. For me the single most alarming thing about the Evangelical Left was that they liked John Howard Yoder! Brian McLaren was selling The Politics of Jesus on his “Everything Must Change” tour. I cringed when I heard that.
(The Yoder remark comes because Craig Carter is an expert on Yoder where he "sought to bring the typologies of Reinhold Niebuhr into focus and through a reapplication of John Howard Yoder")

I also find it a sham to lambast the "Religious Right" about being in bed with Republican politics when you do the same thing for the opposite set of politics. Personally while I want my ultimate allegiance to be to the kingdom of God, I find it disconcerting to assume that will invariably make one a liberal Democrat in our contemporary setting.

And ditto on the McLaren's theology being nothing more than reemergent old-school 20th-century Protestant liberal theology.

Anyways, read the interview with Craig Carter here; I'm adding his blog to my RSS feed for now.

No comments:

"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...