The Left's False Vision of Economics and Morality
Commentaries by the left repeatedly emphasize the words "fairness," "morality," "equality," "community," and "the poor." According to the left, morality and fairness are economic concepts, not biblically based, divinely approved commands. Morality and fairness are undermined by "disparity." The rich, and possibly those awful, fanatical, and outrageously hypocritical conservative Christians, are disrupting "community" (sometimes referred to as the "global village"). Without the distractions of Christians and conservatives, there would be much more social coherence, fairness, community, and even better weather!
But there's even more: get rid of income inequality, put more constraints on the rich, stop America's love of autos and such wasteful stuff as wanting to be warm in the winter (remote control over home thermostats is on the horizon), and we would have a more healthy, unified, and good society and world.
Wait. There's more: subjugate the conservatives and religionists, the pro-lifers and the heterosexual lobby, and then you'll have a "free society" without ignorant hypocrites. We are oppressed and beleaguered by that crowd of country bumpkins who go to NASCAR races and cling to their religion and their guns (oh, my – the Second Amendment has to go, too!).
Let us squash once and for all those dead and superficial thoughts from the white, elitist, Protestant, racist, homophobic, nativist, sexist, self-centered, hypocritical American past. (What a horrible place this country has always been!) Let's get over the 18th- and 19th- century ideals and move on to the future with a "new" corporate-government alliance, where the government part of the alliance assures and controls that the common good is adhered to.
Wall Street can be and will be replaced with a more knowing and enlightened elite. The government will restore balance and a vision of the greatest good for the greatest number. Utilitarianism tweaked with a Marxist sense of the radical disconnect between the exploiters and the exploited will replace laissez-faire ideas. We will move from the present mixed economy to a new stage of a controlled mixed economy, with more control and less "mix."
According to the hyped and hyper left, now having its epicenter not in the Socialist Party or the Progressive Workers' Party, but in the Democratic Party, if we could get out of the mindset of the past, we can really advance the modern cause of security, not liberty. To the left, the nation-state is an excrescence. Globalism and one-world government are the preferred format, and that is where we are going and must be going. Further, individual liberty is an illusion in a world controlled by capitalist greed. We can be in tune with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, which affirms the goal of "Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person," not "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
With the Marxist principle of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" applying in North America as well as around the world, poverty would belong to history.
By listening to the sweet tones of the dialectic materialist vision, we can allow ourselves to be drawn into a new religious vision, a religious vision without God. Science will be put in the service of people – not in the service of a race to the patent office, the banks, or the pharmaceutical companies. The technology of warfare will be eliminated. This is the true "peace on earth and good will toward man." One can almost hear the demonic, derisive laughter of the atheistic left as it contemplates belief in the "Prince of Peace."
Day and night, they reflect on the selfishness of reactionary minds, which keeps them from catching this vision.
However, the truth is the opposite of this egregiously distorted vision. The rich getting richer is not the cause of the poor getting poorer. The middle class did not arise in this country because the rich were (first) less rich, nor is poverty a result of increased wealth either in the middle classes or among the rich. The rise of a managerial class or middle class can be traced to large-scale industrialization just as much as the proletariat can be traced to that period. Land grant colleges were created to increase the numbers of scientifically trained experts (middle class) in agriculture, and later in engineering.
Colleges were founded by industrious and wealthy Protestants to provide advanced education for ministers (middle class). Public education gave rise to the normal school movement to turn out sufficient numbers of teachers (middle class) for the increased student population. Andrew Carnegie and others were benefactors of society (Carnegie founded and funded the New York Public Library system). Thousands and tens of thousands of small businesses contributed to the building of the railroads, the steel industry, automobiles, ship-building, tool and die, meat-packing and processing, and the construction of skyscrapers and subways in our urban centers. (The subways of NYC, by the way, were built and financed privately when they were created.) Never mind the millions of mom-and-pop hardware, grocery, jewelry, barrel-making, blacksmithing, carriage-making, dry goods, etc. businesses.
The idea of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer expresses resentment for the rich and is a ploy of demagogues rather than a significant or useful economic concept. The drumbeat of class warfare is a bottomless pit. It can and will turn around and bite everyone, not only the top 1% or top 0.1%. The top 1% already pays 60% of the taxes. What's fair about that? Can I rob a bank or shoplift with the thought "they have so much; they'll never miss what I take"? Robin Hood was a criminal. I have prospered because of my students, but does that mean part of my income should be taken and redistributed directly to my students each year? Let's think through the implication of some of these ideas from the pseudo-egalitarian lexicon.
How often has this writer heard leftists criticize Christians for not living up to biblical standards of morality? However, while Christ expressed a preference for the poor, Christian morality based largely on the morality given by God to the Israelites in the Old Testament does not put the wealth of the faithful in opposition to true morality. Many biblical heroes from Abraham to David to Solomon were among the super-rich of their times. The problem with wealth is not that the wealthy have the money, but that they are too absorbed by their wealth and thus resist true, God-centered morality. That is the true meaning of "You cannot love God and mammon, too" (Luke 16:13).
The Judeo-Christian standard of morality is a standard of righteousness based on the commandments of God! It is wrong to steal, not to be in the top 1%. It is wrong to seduce your neighbor's wife, not to be in the top 0.1%. Until this is understood and accepted, there will be a tendency among various circles of people to confuse wealth with criminality (unless your name is Kennedy or Clinton), to confuse order imposed by government from above with true community based on caring ("love thy neighbor as thyself"), and to confuse rabble-rousing with reason.