Why hasn’t the church defeated poverty yet?
Why did it only start to make progress in the 1800’s? These are the questions of a friend at God’s Politics named N.M. Rod.
To confuse the poverty which reigned over the earth until the 18th century with the achievements or lack of achievements of the church is wrong. The world was stuck in poverty for so long because of insufficient limits on government. The invisible hand had been handcuffed. Only with liberalization (in the classical sense of the term) were inroads against poverty begun.
The church, meanwhile, had been married to the state for 1400 years, thanks to
To be sure, the church frequently did fulfill this role, despite its rude spouse, throughout the middle ages. It may be argued that the church preserved Western society, though it failed to sufficiently influence or shape it, through that period. We may assume that it fulfilled the mandate to care for the least of these, but failed to speak up for individual liberty and against the evils of statism, in part due to the Manichean confusion regarding spirit and body. The result would be precisely what we observe.
The solution would be precisely what I propose, which occurred, as you cite, during the 19th and 20th centuries, through voluntary Christian action. The momentum of this involvement was only eroded when responsibility for its vitality was relinquished to the state, back to the middle ages.
To clarify: The economic growth which occurred from the 18th through 20th centuries is due to low state involvement in the economy. The social action which occurred during the 19th and 20th centuries is due to low state involvement in charity.
Am I an Anarchist?
I’ve allowed the Anarchist label in the past, but now I would like to qualify myself as a min archist. I believe the state has a judicial role to fulfill and no more, as described in scripture. While compelling arguments exist for a free judiciary, I do not require it.
To refute your arguments:
1. The robber barons were uncooperative.
A: Nevermind that these so-called robber barons donated vast portions of their wealth to charity. The robber barons often created more wealth than they consumed. Oil prices were lower thanks to Rockefeller, train fares were less expensive thanks to the Great Northern Railroad, and Steel and Aluminum were both cheaper and more plentiful thanks to ALCOA. Only their competitors were hurt, the consumers prospered. Antitrust was created at the behest of their competitors to the ultimate detriment of consumers.
2. Free trade caused the Great Depression.
A: The great depression was merely a mild corrective depression in recently inflated stock prices until the state got involved and did everything the possibly could wrong. This is the accepted position of the vast majority of the economics profession.
3. “The idea that if there is no shared repsonsibility or organisation of human affairs that the result will be an Eden of individual achievement and generosity without crime is a belief in anarchism, or perhaps a return to the myth of Rousseau’s noble savages. That’s a belief in what never was, never has been and never will be, found in no religion, either.”
Forfeiture of privilege and renunciation of the use of political mechanisms is central to the unique claims of Christianity, though seldom understood, and more seldom practiced. Read Yoder.