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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For July 29, 2015

July 21

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote that claims that the Left's Identity politics has control over all of society's driving institutions including all parts of the government and the media and thus blames it for closing American minds as well as a host of other problems. This appeared in Heidelblog.

Bloom was against indifference. But the cause for indifference when he expressed his concerns is not at work today. Rather, what is causing indifference is more accurately identified by Francis Schaeffer. To Schaeffer, the threat of the day consisted of two idols: personal peace and prosperity. The first idol said was defined as one not caring about those who are suffering whether they were neighbors or the one suffering lived on the other side of the globe. These second idol was prosperity itself. King, whether knowingly or not, agreed with Schaeffer about the second idol. For King stated that as long as we are more concerned about profits, gadgets, and property rights, we are a 'thing-oriented society' rather than a 'person-oriented society.' And for as long as we are the latter, the triplets of racism, materialism, and war could not be undone. We should note that for King, the reference to materialism was really a reference to a multisided object which had materials on one side and economic exploitation on another side.

Now I write the above because from my 19 and 1/2 years experience of teaching in college, it is not leftist faculty who are closing the American mind in college. It the ever increasing control exercised by administration who are businessfying their institutions so that it can tell faculty that students are customers in an effort to control to educational process. And part of the businessfication of college also includes with that course offering emphasis on vocational training and decline in the offering of liberal arts majors. The more businessfied college becomes, the more students are pushed in the direction of being thing-oriented rather than person-oriented.

The above blogpost quote seems to be nothing more than a lamenting of the loss of privilege by a group eager to scapegoat its replacement for all of today's troubles, which was done in the article cited. But since their scapegoat no longer is in the driver's seat in colleges today, the charges ends up being empty. That is not to say that there are no abuses from the PC crowd, there are. It is to say that the effects those problems have are being exaggerated without any due reference to the need for a PC crowd and what it gets right. So while the above blogpost quote wants to target the elite universities, assuming that it accurately portrays them, what about the all of the other colleges that produced the vast majority of graduates and thus having at least potentially a greater influence over society?

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July 27

To William Doino and his blogpost about the errors of Liberation Theology. This appeared on the First Things blog.

What I find disturbing here is how easily Marxism is painted with a single brush. In addition, there is the assertion here that Christians should have nothing to do with Marxism. At the same time, while acknowledging the hardships and injustices to which Liberation Theologians were responding, nothing is said about the Capitalist system that produced such troubles nor was anything said about who was supporting the paramilitary troops who so persecuted Liberation Theologians.

There is no contradiction between agreeing with Marx's analysis of Capitalism and Christianity. The problems with Marx really lie in his solutions. But Christians can adapt some of those solutions and there is an important reason why we should. The exploitations that are inherent in Capitalism demands that we seriously learn from its critics, like Marxism. Martin Luther King Jr., who had no high regard for the Soviet Union's Communism still understood that it provided a corrective to Capitalism's overemphasis on both the individual and its own promotion of materialism. And we should note here that much of the exploitation that is such a part of Capitalism is because of its dependence on and promotion of the consolidation of wealth and thus power. That oppression from an upper class, though not being the only source for conflict between people, plays a predominant role in the history of mankind. Thus the redistribution of power first and wealth second cannot only provide some structural safeguards from Capitalism's exploitation of people and the environment, it can also put people in the position where they must act more conscientiously toward others.

We should note here that one of Martin Luther King's mistakes in judging Marxism was that he equated what Lenin and Stalin created in the Soviet Union was the epitome of Marxism. Too many Marxists, even from the time of Lenin, opposed that form of Marxism and were more than eager to distance Lenin from Marx. Whether one agrees with their assessments of the differences between Lenin and Marx is not the issue; the point is that Marxism is not some monolith that will forever have the same relationship with Christianity.

 

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July 28

To Ryan T. Anderson and his blogpost that warns us that religious liberties are being threatened by the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage and America's changing values. This appeared on the Firstthings website

Ok, let's return to the good ole days of America's founding so we can reacquire what our founders had. Of course, if you were Black, Native American, or a woman, the Biblical values recognized back then would subject you to the White man. And the Constitution and other documents would tell you that you would not be subjected to just any White man, you would fall under the reign of White men who were were landowners.

Of course, things changed in this country but not because we stayed with those original Biblical values. Though we fought a war to eliminate slavery, Jim Crow ensured that we would have an ordered liberty. And religious values were used to support that hierarchy. A similar hierarchy existed with regard to women. And what emancipated them were the same religious liberties that enslaved them--not. So perhaps those two examples are proof for some that the same religious values that moved our society to once criminalize and now persecute those who have a different sexual orientation could never guarantee the religious liberties of those same people who have been marginalized because of their sexual orientation. Of course, bakers florists and photographers say thank you to those same values.

Finally, we need to see why some push for limited government. For those who favor limited government know that democracy is a form of government. So if one promotes limited government, one also promotes a limited democracy. And when democracy is limited, that is when collective self-governance is limited, then power is procured by elites in the private sector with no one strong enough to stop them. In fact, with the lack of either regulation itself or the enforcement of regulations, what has arisen are financial institutions that are too big to control. It is here that government is like love in one way: size doesn't matter, fidelity does. When wealth and power are allowed to consolidate in elite portions of the private sector and the voting public becomes apathetic to what its government is doing, government naturally becomes unfaithful and thus it can use its great power to either rule over or support wealth and power from the private sector, or, if it is small, it become impotent to handle the challenges presented by elite sectors from the public sector.


 
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The First Things Blog had put a 'Removed' notice next to the comment below.  Some time after that they reversed that decision and published it.

 
To Carl Trueman and his blogpost about finding a Calvary Option to responding to the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage. His option basically said that we should live our Christian lives the way we were before the decision. This appeared in the First Things blog.

Carl,
there are some things in your life that shouldn't change. The life you have with the Church and your wife should remain. But here are some things that should change. Just as you have warned us against same-sex marriage, you should also preach against economic exploitation, the destruction of the environment, and the reliance on militarism and war.

Why should you change in the ways suggested above? Because real Christians are victims of economic exploitation, destruction of the environment, and the willingness to rely on militarism and war. But not only that, real sinners, including some Christians, are perpetrators of economic exploitation, destruction of the environment, and the willingness to rely on militarism and war. So if you add to your preaching, challenges against economic exploitation, destruction to the environment, and the reliance on militarism and war, perhaps your opposition to same-sex marriage will be interpreted differently by those outside the Church. So all you need to change is the scope of your ministry.


 
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To Elise Hilton and her blogpost on the certainty that entrepreneurs can rescue communities by their economic dynamics. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Markets are one place where value is created. And that slices several ways. First, there are other places where value is created because not all value is monetary. In addition, the markets can be manipulated to serve a few rather than many. Third, the overall system itself determines value and that isn't always a good thing.

Neither people nor products shouldn be reduced to monetary value. Yes, in an age where greed reigns,  the monetary values that markets produce carry much weight. But society can assign other values besides monetary value. Societies can recognize the intrinsic value of each person and thus offer safety nets to those who aren't producing an adequate value to the markets. When the only value people and things have is the monetary value from the markets, then we've seen the falling of the shroud of the love of money.

That markets can be manipulated is a given. That they are manipulated to give some a competitive advantage over others to the extent that the financial survival of others is threatened is ominous.  And we should note that not all manipulation practiced by the markets is illegal. For example, when globalization was applied to the labor force of different kinds of industries, such as the textile industry, the supply of workers increased dramatically thus cutting the cost of that labor. Sweatshop labor, both here and abroad, was a result of the globalization. And the market responded by providing cheaper prices for some clothing. But invisible people paid the cost for those lower prices.

We should also note that when the labor force for other industries was globalized, continued offshoring was the result. This increased the supply of low skilled labor domestically had a predictable result of freezing or even lowering wages for low skilled employees. BTW, owners of different industries are the ones who benefited the most from this globalization. So did those consumers whose jobs were neither offshored nor were impacted by lower wages. So when labor for certain industries was globalized, the value for same work as before was reassigned a lower value by the same markets being exalted here.

Finally, we need to address the system. Marx noted that the labor power of wage earners had become a commodity just as much as raw material and other commodities used in production were. This objectified the wage earner and made him/her disposable since a business could always replace the wage earners with new ones who were willing to work for less. What also became disposable were both the families of the wage earners as well as their communities because both were dependent on what the wage earner made. If we add to that mix that Capitalism is always changing the means of production, this puts many wage earners at risk in becoming surplus people in society --the term 'surplus people,' if memory serves, comes from Naomi Klein.

Yes, we want people to be productive and to earn good pay. However, if the system is designed to enrich the wealthy at the expense of many others, then many entrepreneurial ventures can only bring disillusionment. And this will continue to be the case for long as the market value of people and things is the only pertinent value recognized by society. And that the system is designed to enrich the wealthy at the expense of many others is easily shown by determining who loses that which has the most critical value during our economic busts and who gains the most wealth during our economic recoveries.

 

2 comments:

Maine Skeptic said...

Just curious, here. Do they tell you you're not a "real Christian" to your face? Or do they just imply it a lot?

Curt Day said...

In most cases the do not. They usually tell me that I am gravely mistaken.