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Virtues Underlying Capitalism

There are a few virtues that are more important to me than defending the word “Capitalism.”  They are:
1.  Truth.
2.  Liberty.
3.  Competition.
4.  Compassion.

I know it sounds a bit like a superhero’s motto, but underlying most of my economic perceptions are these four building blocks.  Maybe I should have titled my blog with them, but the title would have been too cumbersome.  Plus, no one will respond if the title is not provocative enough.  Demagoguery?  Maybe a little.

I don’t pursue the economic system of our Founders’ because it allows me to “git” all the stuff I want, though modern conveniences and developments do make our lives’ easier (and longer).  And I surely don’t pursue it for the sake of corporations, though the Liberty virtue allows for their free economic association.

I pursue Truth because Christ cares about truth:

3 John 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

I pursue Liberty because Christ cares about freedom:

John 8:36  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

I pursue Competition because it brings out the best in us.  I am not speaking of cut-throat competition, but healthy competition that makes us more efficient with our resources.  It also gives us the example of others who may be better at apportioning their resources.

Now there are some in our society who cannot legitimately compete.  These are the ones that Christ commands us to help.  This is where “Compassion” comes in.  One of the keys to compassion is determining if someone is legitimately in need.  This brings us back the to “Truth.”  Historically, the government and politicians have been very inept at ascertaining and advancing truth.  This is why I’m against to big government.  I actually desire a small federal government that:  1.  Restrains evil.  2.  Enforces the ideals of “Christian Capitalism”.  I wrote about that in a recent posting.

Even if a government COULD muster righteous motives, they are usually too far away from the situation to ascertain truth.  Determining legitimate need is almost always better done by those who are close to the situation.  This is why LOCAL compassion, secular and religious and possibly municipal, is always better.

I, and all born-again, spirit-filled Christians, pursue compassion because Christ commands us to.  There is also great reward in following them.  Also, there are many non-believers who pursue compassion.

But there is also something that I find most unloving about “reckless” compassion:  It very often enslaves people.  This goes back to the Liberty virtue.  Christ wants us to be free.  Christ also knows that it is spiritually freeing for us to be self-sufficient … especially to the extent that we can help others and lift them up to be self-sufficient.

One of the Scriptures in the Old Testament conveys a type of compassion I agree with:

Leviticus 19
9 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.
10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

It is true that we are commanded to figuratively “leave the corners of our fields unharvested.”  But also note that “the poor and the stranger” were required to labor to harvest the corners of the field themselves.  The owner of the field was NOT commanded to harvest the corners himself, and then cook and deliver the produce for years … while the recipients did nothing.  Even if his intentions were good, this would have enslaved the recipients.  This is a very unloving thing to do.  I wrote about this in another posting.

Another observation to this Scripture is that a field ready for harvest, let alone the “corners” of the field, would not even exist had not the farmer been “seeking” after his own interests, namely provision and profit from farming.

 

Now there exists Capitalists and Socialists that care nothing for the above four virtues.  They want what they want:  Money, power, lifestyle, accolades, immorality … without considering the greater consequences of their personal actions.  They are at best narcissists and at worst sociopaths.

It was Paul, who exhorted us to look after others interests, while also responsibly looking to our own:

Philippians 2:4  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Many readers have sent me examples of Capitalist evils and Socialist virtues.  I hope to examine all “in truth” within the context of these four virtues.  If you have any other foundational ideas like this, please share them.

Ken

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