Politics and Faith

I just know redistribution of wealth is morally right! Maybe I can’t clearly articulate why. I don’t hate the wealthy, but I care for the plight of the poor, and that outweighs my discomfort for perhaps unjustly imposing greater burdens on the wealthy. We must do something for the poor and redistribution seems to be the most expedient solution. We spend too much time arguing this issue. I‘m a compassionate, caring human being and I want action now.

I just know gay marriage is morally wrong! Every fiber of my being tells me I’m correct, but every word out of my mouth betrays my cause. I argue about child rearing. I argue about stability of relationships. I argue about commitment. In every case straight couples undermine my arguments with their behaviors. I concede I can’t argue my case rationally, and yet I faithfully hold onto my views. Where’s the protection of my beliefs, which are founded on faith and not on rationality?

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Redistribution of Wealth

Unto whomsoever much is given of him shall be much required.

I find the above in my King James, but I missed the part about retribution against the wealthy. That the wealthy face ultimate judgment for the sharing (or not) of their blessings in no way justifies the taking of their money by those, or on behalf of those, who are without. Robin Hood must have made his appearance in one of the later Nag Hammadi texts that I haven’t read.

The rich should pay more! They can most afford to pay!

If a neo-Nazi group were to go on TV or radio and advocate racial division or hatred against minorities you would be quick to take action. If your government discriminated against ethnic or transgendered minorities you would rightfully pour into the streets in protest. So where’s your moral outrage when your government singles out the wealthy minority for its thieving (aka progressive taxes)? Do the rich consume more public goods? Whence your moral basis for stereotyping and demonizing people according to some accident of fortune?

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A Chit Economy

The rules for our chit economy are as follows:

  • Each member of society receives a fixed number of chits per year which are used to reward others for goods and services they receive
  • There are only as many chits in the economy as there are individuals (i.e. # chits = # individuals x fixed # of chits per individual per year)
  • Chits expire. Use-’em-or-lose-’em.

I exchange chits for goods and services received. As others receive my chits they in turn can use these chits to compensate others. Chits are transferable as long as they’re unexpired. Individuals who receive many chits provide goods & services highly valued by others, and vice versa. We are a nation of traders in chit.

No cheating by jumping ahead, but chits are probably not what you think.

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A Theory of Justice

Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (1971) is a book of political philosophy forced on hapless undergraduates in our institutes of higher education. Rawls employs a ‘veil of ignorance’ — he derives principles of social justice by placing everyone into a state of ignorance as to what hand they will be dealt later in life. You may be born into wealth or poverty, into a loving or an abusive family, into a rich or poor country. Rawls argues you chose principles of justice minimizing distress on the least advantaged individuals because once the veil of ignorance is lifted you may turn out to be disadvantaged. “Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do it for me.”

Rawls’ theory is not only wrong it’s dangerous.

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Political Principles

Hayek in his essay Why I Am Not a Conservative  states as his main objection the conservative’s lack of political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own. I am not a conservative, nor a libertarian like Hayek, nor a progressive liberal (in the U.S. a ‘lefty’). Being all alone, dead center, I find myself in a position of having to lay out political principles for working with many disagreeable others. My principles are based merely on my experience and eclectic readings, rather than any accepted ideology or worldview. Each will be explored in more detail in future blog posts.

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