Thursday, July 3, 2014

Original Sin Remains

Capitalism as conceived by Efficient Market Theory makes the error of not taking original sin into account. Many who call for deregulation, do so under the belief that once regulation, the entrepreneur will act morally and for the benefit of all mankind. In other words, capitalism works on the very unbiblical idea of those that hold capital will be innocent and the market will force them to be innocent. But can humans be completely innocent? Does the market truly same man from his original sin.

Can the forces of selling and buying purify humanity’s conduct. The conservative is correct in questioning the wisdom of Government to purify man. Government vital to human living and exists to ensure the controlling of human vice such as greed, lust and oppression, but it does not make Government immune to the folly of human nature. Man will continue to wear the stain of our own foolishness. The wisdom of our founders understood this and left us with a system of checks and balances. For to leave power uncheck is to invite the worse kind of human power, blind to its own seeds of destruction. A great leader will never the less fall victim to his own nature.

Yes, the conservative can point the many failings of Government, smug in the wisdom that bares out in the course of human life. Governments will engage in the worst of actions all with the best intentions. Where the modern conservative fails is in thinking that humanity, can indeed be purified by the winds of the markets. Adam Smith saw the error with the example of the Greedy farmer. Morality, for Smith was something beyond the market to create. The markets could operate with the invisible hand if morality emerged from a fully developed understanding of human nature. The markets are no less powerful than Government to purify man. If anything they tempt man into indulging in original sin. For nothing that many on Wall Street joke about the moniker of being the Masters of the Universe. Once many of the libertarians reverse the order and derive their morality from the markets and not the other way around, we can see a generation of Bernie Madoff and the idea that money has its own reality apart from the rest of human life.

 The reality that Christians should point to is that only in love can man be purified or at least starts down the path. The first moment of this purification process is realizing in oneself and not just in others the taint of our own sin. And by sin, I reach back to the older understand of sin as a breach in our very being. Sin is more than violations of an external law, but is a corrupting influence through the whole of life. We all suffer from the taint within both ourselves and those around us.

The biggest myth we tell ourselves that we are innocent, which has the corollary that it must be the other who holds the taint of sin. They are the problem, which leads to the most fundamental mistake of human life, rid ourselves of the other and we eliminate the problem. If anything has show us again that we have not found the way to purify ourselves, whether by government or markets, it has to have been the last decade. Human folly and original sin still controls us more than we wish to confess. We still gorge on fruit of good and evil in a vain attempt to be in control and a master of the universe.

When we find ourselves alone, we can only point the finger at another and claim innocence as the flesh and blood of our sin drips from our mouth. Behavioral economics has come to the same conclusions that humans, far from being the rational creatures we imagine ourselves, we are filled with biases and dark desires all the while trying to maintain a view of being innocent. So, I have outline want seems to be a bleak view of history with a darker vision for our future. If we are condemned to being able to purify ourselves, what hope can we muster.

The Christian answer remains of the cross that reveals the very nature of our violent ways. Within the cross’s shadow, we can hardly claim innocence nor purity. The resurrection points to the reality of regeneration. When we stop with our pretense of purity and innocence, we can start to follow the one that does love us. Markets cannot save us from ourselves. When we see our own folly within our dealings with the markets, we can see the need to check our desires. Government cannot saves us. Our founders understood this well and that is why they chose to separate powers between as many people as possible.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Washington Redskins and the founding principles

The whole issue with the name Washington Redskins has me in quandary. The defenders of the name really have to be ignorant of history. The claim that the owner named the team to honor a native American coach is both ludicrous and sad. Even if truth, which is a stretch, the owner was a product of his age and was very racist in a time it was the norm to be racist. The fact that he named his team a racist name only adds an exclamation point to his racism. Today it is norm to hold racist views but deny the term. "I am not racists, I just point to the fact that blacks are drug dealers and lazy, Mexicans are dirty and lazy, and Indians are drunks and lazy."

Lazy has become the new moniker for racist views.

Lazy an individual trait is suddenly transmuted to a whole people group to whitewash a history of oppression and domination. Those who see nothing wrong with the name would likely know more about Custer's last stand than about the Trail of Tears or Wounded Knee. They most likely would not know about the rapes and wholesale genocide committed by the invading European, and justified by the belief that the native Americans where sub-human. That is the true history of the name redskins, a way of degrading a set of humans as to make it easier to abuse them. That is where the name came from, Europeans downgrading another group of humans to justify what can't by any normal human morality.

The problem is that is also seen as a social justice issue. It is not. If tomorrow, or when ever the team changes its name, it will be hailed as a win for the oppressed people by liberals. "See, we force the change of the name. Aren't we so enlightened." While the name change would be a victory, it would be victory only for common decency and no more. It will not change our shameful past of genocide, and it will not help the social condition that many Native Americans find themselves today. The problems they face as a people well not be met by a name change. Many Native American see this. Okay you changed the offensive name of a football team, but our community is still facing the effects of a long and sad history, which you are again ignoring.

It only when start to come to grips with the truth of history and do the hard work and the real work of reconciliation can heal this nation. Jesus sowed a way through forgiveness and reconciliation and it is up to us to follow. America has done some great things, and it has a dark side of genocide, slavery and oppression. But like the Bible says the truth sets us free. Only when we look at our sins and confess them can we transcend them.

Like Martin Luther demanded. It is time to cash the check on the founding principles of this country. For if we are to live up to them, they we must start from the core idea that all men are created equal. If you do not, we fail the promise of America.