Date: Dec 14, 2012 12:20 AM
Author: Paul A. Tanner III
Subject: Re: Democracy - how to achieve it?
On Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM, Robert Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On Dec 10, 2012, at 9:17 PM, Paul Tanner <email@example.com> wrote:
> I see some people
> responding to all that in a way showing that they have no conscience,
> where they do not believe in the Christian ideal put forth in Acts 2
> and 4, where the early Christians in response to an initial encounter
> with God gave us the Christian model of how to take care of each other
> on needs (not non-needs)
> So if I have made better decisions that lead to me making more money than
> your and pay more taxes (in actual dollars) than you, then doesn't that mean
> that I am more caring and more Christian than you?
Let's see what the New Testament says:
From the translation called The Message:
James 5: 1-6:
"1-3 And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You'll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you've piled up is judgment.
4-6 All the workers you've exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You've looted the earth and lived it up. But all you'll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you've done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it."
Hmmmmmm. This sounds to me like what Fox News and right-wing talk radio says is heavy duty class warfare.
Since I before referenced Acts 2 and 4, the following is what I meant:
Acts 2: 43-45:
"43-45 ...And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.
Acts 4: 32-35:
"32-33 The whole congregation of believers was united as one-one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine; you can't have it." They shared everything....
34-35 And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person's need."
Hmmmmmmmmm. Now we know where Karl Marx got his "to each according to his need".
I mean, good grief, read these in their context - see
to see this whole translation online, and see that these people starting acting in this very "commune-ism" way only after they first had a personal encounter with the God they worshipped. This is significant since one would expect that people would be most sensitive to feeling what God's will is and act accordingly right after the first such encounters. And what we see them doing is acting in line with hardcore collectivism and redistribution, which by definition is everyone with money putting all or at least some of the money they have into a central treasury out of which everyone's need is met.
I note that everywhere the New Testament references government, it always speaks positively of government, even though there was no such thing as representative democracy, and even if the government was a ruthless dictatorship that invaded your country. This means that this positive direction toward government is even more so when the government is a representative democracy, and that all this anti-government rhetoric from conservatives is not consistent with the gist of the New Testament.
And throughout, as Jesus was challenged by his enemies that what he doing was wrong or evil or "of the Devil" of whatever, his response was to point to the actual results of what he did, which is that those four great needs were met - those four great needs being such because without them we experience morbidity, suffering, or premature death: The hungry were fed, the naked were clothed, the homeless were sheltered, and the sick or injured were healed. (This desire to see morbidity, suffering, or premature death stopped and prevented is the overarching moral of the story of the New Testament with respect to what we can apply before we die, this moral being something that even atheists can take away from this writing.)
The standard is clear when we take the New Testament in its entirety: The moral test for an economic philosophy of government is its results with respect to these four great needs: We simply observe whether its implementation increases, keeps the same, or decreases morbidity, suffering, or premature death caused by lack of proper food, proper clothing, proper shelter, and proper health care.
We therefore see that economic conservatism and its promotion of as little government as possible is a moral evil, and that economic progressivism and its promotion of as much government as is needed to not only meet these four great needs but to promote the maximum growth of national income, wealth, and prosperity and have it realized and distributed in the most democratic way as is reasonably possible among the population is a moral good. (Paul Krugman names his blog "The Conscience of a Liberal" aptly. It really is about how economic and government philosophy stacks up with respect to Conscience.)
By all this, as I in such posts as
"Moral economics -> world's highest living standard and greatest
have documented, the Scandinavian countries especially Norway (all of whom have had for almost every one of the past 30-40 years larger per capita nominal GDPs than even the US) have most realized this Christian or New Testament ideal and best passed this above moral test.
Message was edited by: Paul A. Tanner III