Photo above: The Hertford Bridge in Oxford, England. Used by Permission. © Tom Ley 01302 782837

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Socialist Bread and Capitalist Bread by Dr. Douglas O. Walker

In a recently published article, Kevin A. Hassett points out that the groves of academe are filled with Marxists and have been so politicized and so disconnected from the rest of society that ordinary citizens no longer trust anything that emanates from our universities.

One can add to this the fall of the Soviet Union discredited state Socialism in the eyes of most people and there is a widespread belief that government is an ineffectual instrument for addressing the country's mounting problems.

In this situation, questioning of the role of government and reliance on it would seem to be in order.

Yet we live in an age when the hatred of Capitalism and love of Socialism is so transparent that many people cannot even see it. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the idea that just because the government provides something, it is seen as somehow fairer and superior to the efforts of the private sector, even if it is an inferior product and providing it collectively bankrupts everybody. As Schumpeter put it, "Socialist bread may well taste sweeter to them [the intellectuals] than capitalist bread simply because it is socialist bread, and it would do so even if they found mice in it."

There are plenty of mice in the health care bill but it matters not. Mice and all, the Left will support it and yell for more. And they will see health care as only the beginning of a banquet where they can set the menu and order the cooks about and the waiters to and fro. When the meal delivered is found to be sour, they will blame everyone but themselves.

One should not think that the trend toward a dirigisme society pushed by the Democrats is simply a matter of ideology, although that is its emanating force. There is also the fact that so much of the economy is effectively “socialized” already, and nothing is as severe an impediment to clear thinking on moral and political issues than the self-interest of the status quo and the rebarbative complexity of making your own way in a difficult world. It is so much easier to let the government worry about meeting our needs and then complain when it things are not as great as one would like.

As Schumpeter predicted, the attack on Capitalism and the Law would come from academia and the wider intellectual class. He believed Capitalism creates the productivity on which a modern economy is based and on which all aspects of a modern society feed, especially the intellectual class. Where would Harvard be without its endowment? But people, especially intellectuals, do not understand the hidden intricacies interwoven into the extensive division of labor upon which their prosperity rests and they become hostile to the very social order which created them and sustains them. Intellectuals increasingly attack Capitalism and the “creative destruction” function of Schumpeter’s hero, the entrepreneur, and as they do so the entire system weakens and declines, intellectuals included.

Yes, there is rot in academia. And in the Congress and the other corridors of political power. And in the business community. But not at Regent.

Our Faith in the Creator trumps their reliance on Man and Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx.

For as Christians, thankfully our hope and joy do not depend upon who is up and who is down in academe, or Capitol Hill, or the White House, or Wall Street.

Christ’s bread is sweetest of all and our eyes are on it. 1 Peter 1: 3-4.

May it always remain that way.

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