|Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 Jesus Knew Squat about Economics
Almost every Sunday at Mass we are called on to pray for the Poor. Sometimes we are called to "exercise a preferential option for the poor" (whatever that means), and other times we are called to share what we have with the poor.
Every time this happens I growl a bit, because nothing the Church says about poverty makes any sense. And frankly, Jesus made no sense about what he said about the poor (except that we'll always have them).
Ancient peoples (and many fools today) see economics as a zero sum game. Some have more because some has less. This is understandable in ancient times when land equaled wealth and was limited. Those with much land were vastly richer than those without land even though manufacturing was important.
Even in Revolutionary America there were ten people on farms for every one person in a city or town.
People are poor in America for a number of reasons, and none of them have to do with not owning land. 1) Young people are poor because they are just starting out. 2) Single mothers tend toward poverty. 3) Immigrants legal or illegal are generally poor, but legal ones won’t always remain so. 4) Criminals, addicts, and crazy people are poor. 5) People raised without decent fathers and mothers, who are abused, molested, or uneducated will tend to remain poor.
As some once said, there are only three things anyone has to do to not be poor in America; 1) finish high school; 2) get a job (any job) and keep it (until you get a better job); and 3) if you get married, stay married. That's it. I would add 4) get some religion and practice it (preferrably Christianity).
No one except crazy people have to remain poor.
Around the world the story is a bit different. Lack of political freedom, rule of law, and free market systems added to the above make multitudes poor.
But the poor don’t remain poor because affluent people don’t give them enough money out of their pockets which seems to be the only way the Church and looney liberals can think about it.
It seems counterintuitive to many that not giving five dollars to a beggar in America, and not feeding the so-called homeless will do them more good than in giving and thinking you’re helpful for doing so.
One of our local churches (St. Francis you know who you are) allows bums to camp on their steps and offers bathroom facilities. The neighborhood complains, the police don’t like it, but St. Francis folks think they’re angels of mercy when all they are is weak minded abettors of filth and disease, and enablers of criminals, bums, drunks, and the lost.
It is a false compassion which encourages the weak to remain so and subsidizes them. I do not believe that Jesus would countenance it today. He called on everyone to repent, to change their ways and their thinking - the poor as much as the rich - and condemned those who wouldn’t to Hell.
If someone tells a story of loss, grief, and woe which has befallen them, you can sympathize and understand their circumstances. But then you must point them in the direction of hope, healing, peace, and responsibility. If they will not accept such guidance then they are like the man on the road to Jericho whom the Samaritan has rescued -- that is, the man awakens in the inn he had been left at and immediately flies away to become a bandit and waylay others.
Most people don’t give a darn about their salvation. It is not up to Christians to make them, and certainly not to support them.
From this blog, The Fire Ant Gazette,, a look at a WSJ article on what free markets do and the US falling out of the top ten of the world's freest markets. Concluding graph from the WSJ story:
Policy makers who pay lip service to fighting poverty would do well to grasp the link between economic freedom and prosperity. This year the Index finds that the freest economies have a per-capita income of $29,219, more than twice that of the "mostly free" at $12,839, and more than four times that of the "mostly unfree." Put simply, misery has a cure and its name is economic freedom.
posted by Mark Butterworth | 9:09 AM |