The Good News and Capitalism All Under One Tent

tent-making

Over the past several months I have been reading several of the Apostle Paul’s letters. He wrote to churches he had planted and to those he intended to visit such as the one in Rome. 

 His two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica struck me, especially in light of the terms “social justice” and “fair share” being pandered today by so~called Christian groups (Sojourners & Jim Wallis, etc.) under the guise of helping others.

 What struck me within these particular letters is that Paul, without healthcare, without government subsidies, without insurance of any kind went about the business of the Kingdom of God, working with his own hands, as he states, making tents, paying his own way. 

 Paul said that he could have “entitled” himself to share in their “wealth” because he was a hard-working minister of the good news.  Instead, he chose to not become a burden to the people he was talking to and therefore not a burden or an impedance to the freely offered Good News of the Kingdom of God.

 “Here is a command we have for you, my dear family, in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.  Keep away from any member of the family who is stepping out of line, and not behaving according to the tradition that you received from us.

You yourselves know, after all, how you should copy us. We didn’t step out of line, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it.  We worked night and day, with labor and struggle, so as to not place a burden on any of you.  It wasn’t that we don’t have a right; it was so that we could give you an example, for you to copy us. And indeed, when we were with you, we gave you this command:  those who won’t work shouldn’t eat!”  II Thess. 3:6-10

  

From a provocative post by R.J. Moeller:  “Hayek on Socialism,”  American Spectator

 “For my fellow Christians who are skeptical of free-market capitalism, I’m all in favor of having those internal discussions about the most God-honoring, effective ways to help the least among us. But if you’re a believer who takes the Bible seriously and you actively (or even passively) endorse government~enforced and funded “social justice,” you’re wrong. You may mean well, but you’re wrong.”

Today I see many young people wanting to help others “socially.” Social media impacts and drives a lot of this desire and also a lot of misinformation about Capitalism and the Free-market. One only has to look at the Occupy Wall Street “movement” to see that there are some who have angst and anger about Capitalism, angst and anger revved up by the main stream media pushing Progressivism’s socialist agenda.

But we need Capitalism more than ever to restore human flourishing to our country.  More importantly, we need Capitalism to help us Christians increase the Kingdom of God here on planet earth. Think fishermen, disciples, non-union community and fellowship, image-of-God creativity, Jerusalem~Christian-like charity, sparrow~like dependence on God ~ agape love feasts and more.

 Capitalism combined with a knowledge of God and the freedom to act, can enable an individual to freely share the Kingdom of God with others and to do this without the middleman of government and apart from the propaganda of the main stream media. Why else would the Evil One so push for a centralized government where he can consolidate his power?

 Here are some authoritative thoughts about capitalism’s creativity and information sharing that could have a positive impact on the Kingdom of God: 

In a recent book by George Gilder “Knowledge and Power:  Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing Our World,”  he writes, 

 “In order for the entrepreneur to succeed, he must know that, if his creation generates an upside surprise, the related profits will not be confiscated or taxed away.  If they may be confiscated, his entire project will not be able to attract the necessary resources to bring it to market.” 

 “The successful entrepreneur has found a creative way to serve his fellow-man, and his profits are the measure of the extent to which he has been of service.  He needs to be able to keep those profits in order to be able to use what he has learned to bring other creative ideas to market to further serve his fellow-man.  When a government takes away the entrepreneur’s profits, it essentially takes away his creative lifeblood.”

 Also,

 “A leftward administration can destroy the value of the 1 percent’s property, but cannot seize it or pass it on….Under capitalism, wealth is less a stock of goods than a flow of ideas and entropy….Capitalism is a system that begins not with taking but with giving to others.”

 And,

 “All economic growth ultimately stems from innovations. …Innovation is always a product of individual innovators, a rare and dynamic breed not always appealing to the millions who depend on their creativity for their own comfort, health, and security.”

“In capitalism, “the givers or investors must be willing to focus on others’ needs more than on their own.  The difference between the value of an item to the giver and its value to the recipient is the profit.  Profit is thus an index of the altruism of an investment.”

Capitalism is the most effective way of expanding wealth, not because it offers the most powerful incentives…but because it links knowledge with power.  It gives control over resources and over the future flow of investment not to political bureaucracies of certified experts or to the most avidly self-loving pursuers of leisure and luxury, but to the particular entrepreneurs who manage successful experiments of enterprise.  It grants riches to those very individuals who have proved their ability to forgo immediate gratification in pursuit of larger goals, and who refuse to waste or to hedonistically consume their incomes.  …Under capitalism, economic power flows not to the intellectual, who manipulates ideas and basks in their light, but to the man who gives himself to his ideas and tests them with his own wealth and workThe greatest damage inflicted by state systems of redistribution and industrial policy is not the ‘distortion of markets,’ the ‘misallocation of resources’, or the ‘discoordination’ of producer and consumers, but the deflation of capitalist energy, the repression of new entrepreneurial ideas, and the stultification of wealth.” (emphasis mine)

  

And remember, there are those who seek to profit by selling the Kingdom of God message in exchange for “social justice:” 

 Judas held the disciples’ money bag. The other disciples suspected that Judas stole coins from the purse.  Judas likely decided that his “fair share” should come out of the donations received.  And then, horrifically, Judas decides that he would sell out the Kingdom of God for the “good” of his nation ~ for his take on “social justice.” 

 Judas received thirty pieces of silver for his socially “conscientious” efforts.  He then hanged himself (because you can’t invest blood money in good conscience).  And finally like all revolutionaries, a public site ~ Akeldama ~ was named after Judas to memorialize his “social work.” Now that is “social justice.”

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Recommended reading for those who need help understanding capitalism and the free- market:

 Defending The Free Market:  The Moral Case For a Free Economy

 Books by George Gilder:

 Knowledge and Power:  Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing Our World, copyright 2013 (see above reference)

 Wealth and Poverty, 21st century edition

Recommended website:

The Acton Institute

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“Play is the exultation of the possible.” theologian Martin Buber

 

European Vacation Part III

I have an answer for those who would like to see America become like Europe:  take a slow boat to Europe.

 If you are young and hold a useless degree (liberal arts, gender studies, “identity” studies, African-American studies, etc) and are jobless in spite of Obama’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 than take your worthless piece of paper and flee to the cafes of Paris or Rome.  Spend your Recovery summers and winters, springs and autumns in Europe.  Become one of Europe’s intellectual elites. Better yet, become the vagabond that you have always dreamed of becoming– just you, nature and Kumbaya.  Become the insipid whiner who decries American liberty for having too much opportunity and too much choice and not enough government programs making choices for you.

 If you are seeking European style health care then the perfect answer for you would be to relocate yourself and your citizenship to a European country.  After all, America, having paid for the defense of Europe during WWII to the tune of 80 plus billion dollars and with thousands of American lives, allowed European nations to turn their swords into plowshares, their guns into socialized medicine. America effectively paid for the implementation of Germany’s health care system. And, doesn’t America still have a military base in Germany protecting German interests as well as American interests, freeing up German defense dollars for healthcare?

 Socialist Europe is held up as a model of “just behavior”; but the Left forgets that for seventy-five years America defended Europe from the Communist threat, and bore the cost, which would have bankrupted Europe, and which, in the event, bankrupted Communism.  The Left looks at the peace of Europe since World War II and forgets that it was not only ensured, but created by American military strength and determination (and funded by the Marshall plan, which is to say, by a surplus of American industrial wealth.) And now the Left has elected a President who thinks it good to go to Europe and apologize for our “arrogance”, who proclaims the benefits of appeasement both at home and around the world.[1]

 Coming out of a decisive victory made possible by America, the Marshall plan funneled huge amounts of money into the rebuilding of European nations devastated by the Third Reich. America paid a steep price to free Europe from her enemies. Europe responded by turning inward and to pampering herself with socialized health care.  The facts now reveal, though, that under European style socialized health care you will get a small bang for your Euro in Europe, unless of course you are really looking for legalized drugs.

 And, if you are looking for top-down centralized government and the chance to really all-out criticize and complain about America then Europe is the place for you. Over there, in the Elysian Fields where there is “blessed” life after life in your despised America, you can rail against the Yanks for being so greedy, so selfish, so uncaring, so hard-working and so American.  Forget about WWII. Forget about the fact that America is the most charitable nation on earth (a common good interventionism) and a strong defender of liberty against totalitarianism. And forget, too, that millions of people left their homelands for the chance at American prosperity and for the freedoms of speech, religion and choice.

I believe the incredible wealth of this country will allow it to survive quite awhile on its hundred years of production and upon its natural resources and historic culture of productivity.

But the Change which Obama’s rhetoric referred to preceded and will follow him, accelerated by him and his policies, accepted by a drugged populace and supine press.  It is the unfortunate descent of a productive nation into socialism, which, as I understand it, is robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I don’t think it’s any more complex than that.[2]

 In Europe, give in to your to your passions and to your righteous anger.  Go riot in the French streets about banal differences in French cinema. Find your mojo among the militant Left Euro-Sophists. Stir your Café Americano pensively, smoke your Marlboros and sit around in distressed blue jeans chatting smugly with others of your herd about your almost extinct planet and the need to create a global warming franchise like Al Gore has done.  You have earned it.

  A vagabond status of passive living is so incredibly ‘60s.  Peace and love baby.  Go for it.  Experience the experience. Become one with the world. Find yourself.  COEXIST with yourself in Europe and please leave America to the Americans.

 If you are looking for “Hope” and “Change” look no farther: America’s promise of liberty, opportunity and choice is filled with “Hope”.  To be sure, American hope is born out of character which is born out of perseverance through trial, through hard work and yes, through suffering and not out of European-like nanny state programs which enable sloth, intemperance, envy and even despair.

 “Change” comes when you begin to fully appropriate America’s “Hope.”  “Change,” thus, begins and ends with you, right here, right now.  Or, board the next boat to parts unknown.


[1] David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On Dismantling of American Culture (New York:  Penguin Books:  Sentinel, 2011, http://davidmamet.com/) 44.

[2] Ibid, 64