The Material and the Moral (and other stuff worth reading)

In short, Marx believed material deprivation is the source of social, political and intellectual conflict. Instead of viewing a strong moral consciousness as the source of economic prosperity, he blamed the lack of prosperity for moral decline.

In the early twentieth century, the progressive movement gained widespread popularity for advancing a similar belief: They viewed in economic engineering—material enrichment—as a means to engender a more civil society. “To permit the moral ideas to percolate through continually lower strata of the population,” progressive economist Edwin Seligman wrote, “we must have an economic basis to render it possible.”

As the twentieth century progressed, this idea spread—especially among the elite political classes. By finding the source of moral and social ills in material causes, politicians could justify power grabs that gave them more control over the economy.

-Values and Capitalism

Four out of five people in the United States identify as Christians, yet Christianity is marginalized in mainstream culture. Somehow, many Americans have become convinced that their faith is something to hide. The entertainment industry and academia, in particular, have sent a clear message that Christianity is an oppressive superstition that is outdated, uneducated and very uncool. And the loudest of disapproving voices are aimed at anyone caught using a “religious” belief to take a political position. -Values and Capitalism

The tranquility and peace of our nation, Washington noted, is supported by the unity of our government. We’ve lost that. Peggy Noonan, writing for the Wall Street Journal, says we are now in the midst of “government by freakout“, an on-going crisis-to-crisis saga of economic cliffs, embattled legislation and threats of slashed programs. Noonan says the Obama administration is unifying us all right: “Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together.” -Acton

Aided by a relatively weak Republican Party, Obama travels around the country, appearing to be fighting against the horrific consequences of his own policies. Consequently, the president has remained fairly popular without having to own any of his destructive strategies and programs. It’s all about perception. -Big Government

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