Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Corruption of American Christianity - and Resulting Destuction of Capitalism

One of the most infuriating characteristics of American conservatives is their attempt to claim they are "christian." Conservatives' faith in "free market" economics directly contradicts the most basic tenets of christian thought and teachings. Simply put, American conservatives are trying to worship both god and mammon. This is especially evident when one considers the popularity among conservatives of the narcissistic ideas of Ayn Rand. As a DailyKos diarist pointed out today, Ayn Rand explicitly rejected the Christian concept of the sacrifice of Christ.

"Atlas Shrugged." Jesus didn't.

Just in time for Easter, the movie version of "Atlas Shrugged" is poised to be shown in an expanding number of theaters. And, as Ayn Rand would be the first to admit, you could not set up a sharper clash of world views. There is Jesus Christ, who, the apostle Paul writes, "died for the ungodly."Think Progress writes this week—who once told Alvin Toffler in a Playboy magazine interview that "nothing could make me more indignant" than the idea of a "man of perfect virtue dying for the ungodly, "the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the non-ideal."Rand is very clear: walking in the path of Christ and walking in the path of "Atlas Shrugged" hero John Galt will take you to two very different places.

Which ought to give pause to political leaders who claim to embrace the values of Christ but adopt the politics of Rand. Before Congress went on its Easter recess, the House of Representatives passed a 2012 federal budget blueprint drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who credits Rand for inspiring him into entering politics, and who reportedly encourages his staff members to read "Atlas Shrugged." The budget unabashedly bears the trademarks of Rand's thinking: its glorification of individualism and private enterprise not as a companion to the collective pursuit of the common good but as a replacement for it; the gradual elimination of anything that compels the haves to share with the have-nots; the presumption that have-nots are "moochers" or "looters" and must be treated accordingly. Then there is the atheist Rand—"by all accounts ... one of the central intellectual and cultural inspirations for the base of the Republican Party,"

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Unfortunately, the corrupton of American Christianity is now so deep, that slightly less than half of Americans polled believe that the free market system is in conflict with Christian values.
Poll: Americans See Clash Between Christianity, Capitalism

By Nicole Neroulias
Religion News Service

(RNS) Are Christianity and capitalism a marriage made in heaven, as some conservatives believe, or more of a strained relationship in need of some serious couples' counseling?

A new poll released Thursday (April 21) found that more Americans (44 percent) see the free market system at odds with Christian values than those who don't (36 percent), whether they are white evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics or minority Christians.

But in other demographic breakdowns, several categories lean the other way: Republicans and Tea Party members, college graduates and members of high-income households view the systems as more compatible than not.

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The idea that American christianity has been so thoroughly corrupted by free market, shock doctrine, neo-liberal economics, is as good a way as any to introduce this next article, by William Black, on why no one important from Wall Street has been jailed yet. Black provocatively entitled his article
Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum (Let Justice be Done, Though the Heavens Fall): It is one of the paradoxes of life that the most practical means to ensure that the system does not collapse is to insist on justice for all and to ignore demands for special treatment premised on claims that justice places the system at grave risk of collapse. Nietzsche argued that the ubermensch (generally translated as “Superman”) transcended the normal rules. The elites claim impunity from normal rules on the basis of their purported superiority and because they claim that they are so important that applying the normal rules to them will harm society. Some pigs are more equal than others. What any competent financial regulator learns is that the best way to destroy a financial system is to refuse to hold the elites accountable. Regulators that insist on doing justice prevent the heavens from falling.
Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story authored a column addressing one of our national scandals – the elite banking frauds who caused the Great Recession through their looting have done so with impunity. Not a single one of them has been convicted. This is the hallmark of crony capitalism.
Gretchen and Louise’s reporting exposed for the first time two underlying scandals that produced the overall scandal. In 2008, the FBI, belatedly, realized that it had improperly targeted relatively trivial mortgage frauds while ignoring the massive lenders that specialized in making fraudulent mortgages. The FBI developed a plan to reorient its resources towards the “accounting control frauds” that always should have been its priority. We now know that the Department of Justice (DoJ) deliberately, and successfully, sabotaged this effort to investigate the major frauds. We need additional investigative reporting to discover why DoJ did so.
The second underlying scandal that their column disclosed is that two key members of what Tom Frank aptly termed Bush’s “Wrecking Crew” – Geithner and Bernanke – who President Obama chose to promote and reappoint and make his anti-regulatory leaders sought to discourage or limit federal and state prosecutions, enforcement actions, and suits. Geithner’s express rationale was that the financial system extreme fragility made vigorous investigations of the elite frauds too dangerous.

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1 comment:

  1. In reference to the lack of justice against the banksters of the Great Recession--I believe we have romanticized how the Pecora Commission was motivated morally to cleanse American financial markets.

    I imagine it was driven as a response to citizens running on the banks, they were forced to prosecute out of necessity to show the citizens the banks were once again trustworthy places to hold the family's life savings.

    With the Great Recession, there has been no bank run, which has allowed the banksters (with their media and regulator partners) to whistle as they pass the graveyard of our lost 401k and housing losses.

    They need more motivation before there will be 'need' for any accountability.