09 March 2010

Ministry Distorts the Role of Wealth as a Virtue

okay, I don't know why I get incensed by this crap, but I do. Here is a "moral argument" for Capitalism. Of course, delivered via the lovely "non-profit" Probe Ministries (hey, only about 1,600 fans on Facebook so not so influential maybe) by a fella with way too much experience in the school systems. This is the kind of guy teaching your kids that greed is good if you don't define it as greed but a drive for "moral wealth" (and anyway Stalin was a marxist so that must be evil).

Here's his "essay" on Poverty and Wealth--though he doesn't actually address poverty (too thorny morally, I guess, especially as Jesus would be for all of us being poor in material goods and wealthy in spirituality--a clearly direct contradiction to his imbecilic immorality).

I wrote him an email...too tired of this crap to really address all his inanities. Can you add anything?

Dear Mr. Closson,

I find your essay on poverty and wealth disheartening and disingenuous. You present three forms of economic ideology (there are only three?) and attempt to "prove" the greatness of Capitalism vs Marxism (which I guess you conflate with Socialism and Communism) vs "interventionism" (a tool for any government).

1. You use ONE source. Have you read Rousseau, Mill, Locke, Hume, Berkeley, Burke, etc.? In other words, your argument is a book review and a shallow one at that. You could have just as readily used Atlas Shrugged to "prove" your case.

2. Capitalism gets a pass because you believe it's the best IF people allowed it to work on it's own. Thus all of the "bad acts" of capitalist societies and governments are attributed to the people who are agents of those acts. If only people were "better" then Capitalism would be perfect.

3. Marxism/Socialism/Interventionism are condemned by the actions of their "believers" which is the exact opposite of your case for capitalism...damn the agents not the system. So this is hypocritical at best.

4. There is no such Capitalism as you describe it. All markets are coerced...though again, you claim that this is a fault of government and unnecessary. Though the recent economic crash brought about by the market manipulations of individuals (corporations) NOT government IS inherent in a capitalist mentality...to the Owners go the spoils.

There is so much wrong here that I don't have time to detail it. However, I do appreciate the irony of your closing:

A properly functioning market system is an effective tool against oppression and corruption because it promotes the rule of law for all citizens. However, a strong moral system is necessary to keep it from being controlled by special interests. There are too many examples of economies that have been shaped for the benefit of a few. Christ’s advocacy for the poor should make us a strong moral barrier to this kind of corruption.

This whole thing is rife with contradiction (expected from one who uses the bible as justification as needed). Markets promote the rule of law? Yes, the law of the Property owner over those without property (ie, most of citizens)--in other words, the law that protects the market. That is circular and illogical. A strong moral system (such as?) keeps "special interests" under control--like the church or probe ministries that escape taxation? Christ does advocate for the poor NOT for the property owner and Christ's words go against your market economy in every letter.

It would be nice if people such as yourself would simply own up to your motivations instead of trying to manipulate your readers/listeners into believing the wealth you have is due to your "morality" and the value you believe you have as a good capitalist believer. You want wealth and you want to keep it. Simple.

So all of your words should carry with them the disclaimer--"written for the sake of worldly treasures--maybe if you're lucky I'll throw you a bone."


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