The other night, my wife happened to dig up an old notebook. I flipped through its pages and happened upon this quotation from Sergei Bulgakov:
My moving my pen on a piece of paper, thus redistributing the atoms of ink, paper, the steel of the pen, and so on, is in principle just such a cosmic event as astronomical or geological catastrophes, though perhaps of lesser force (and even this is not certain, for we cannot measure these two events against each other).
That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9, NKJV
In a recent post for Bloomberg.com, Mark Buchanan asks, “Is Economics a Science or a Religion?” It is a good question, but Buchanan is a bit late to the game. He writes that, “The idea of economics as a religion harks back to at least 2001, when economist Robert Nelson published a book on the subject.” Underscore “at least“! That may be the first time an economist asked that question, but academic theologians began asking that question a lot earlier.
I wanted to take a moment to follow up on my last post, in which I tried to dispel three common myths about socialism. Comments on my Facebook page reminded me that there is often quite a bit of confusion about what socialism actually means. As I see it, there are two ways of defining socialism: the right way and the wrong way.
If you don’t want tax dollars helping the sick and poor, then it’s time to stop saying you want a government based on Christian values.
I shared this picture on Facebook the other day because I agree with the sentiment, but I disagree with its simplicity. John Fugelsang correctly identified hypocrisy in the Christian Right, but he applied his diagnosis too broadly.
Let’s get this straight: If you insist on wishing a Jew, Muslim, or atheist a merry birth of a Savior they do not believe in, that does not make you a good Christian. It makes you a condescending jerk. I know that some people think saying “Happy Holidays” is tantamount to kicking over a plastic baby Jesus in the front lawn of your local Catholic Church, but the so called “war on Christmas” has a lot more to do with what comes out of our wallets than our mouths.
Last night I picked up Kyla and George from their after-school program. Kyla got into the car and announced that they were having a mock election at school tomorrow, and that she was going to vote for Mitt Romney, because Barack Obama would raise our taxes!
Like all fundamentalist faiths, Chicago School economics is, for its true believers, a closed loop. The starting premise is that the free market is a perfect scientific system, one in which individuals, acting on their own self-interested desires, create the maximum benefits for all. It follows ineluctably that if something is wrong within a free market economy – high inflation or soaring unemployment – it has to be because the market is not truly free. There must be some interference, some distortion in the system. The Chicago solution is always the same: a stricter and more complete application of the fundamentals.
Several years ago I read Fr. Sergei Bulgakov’s claim that Marxism is not social science but a kind of religion. Recently I realized his argument could also be applied to the laissez-faire capitalism promoted by “market liberalism” (which is basically libertarianism). Beginning with Bulgakov, here are a few reasons why I think market liberalism is a religious movement. Continue reading “Three Reasons Why Market Liberalism is a Religion”