By Anna Von Reitz
We are familiar with the debate set off by the publication of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, but for well over a hundred years prior to that and continuing to the present, there was another such debate raging.
This Other Great Debate arose in the wreckage of the English Civil War, but unlike the debate over Darwinism which was (and is) a very public discourse, this earlier Great Debate was a different kind of ecclesiastical fistacuffs, touching areas that we were not deemed to be sufficiently interested to engage in public debate.
Listen and decide for yourselves if you are sufficiently interested.
This Other Great Debate centered on the existence of poverty. If God loves us, why does he show so little concern for the millions of impoverished, stunted, and miserable people on this planet? Is God a Deadbeat Dad? Or is there some other hidden meaning or benefit to poverty?
The Creationists (not the same Creationists who have disagreed with the conclusions of Darwin, but a name attached to the proponents in this prior debate, too) looked around at the abundance of the Earth and took the stance that if we were impoverished, it was because of our own bone-headed refusal to do the job that our Creator assigned to Adam. If we would act as better caretakers of God's abundant gifts, and share with each other as Jesus commanded us, then all would be well. Poverty as a systemic problem would disappear. Naturally.
Ben Franklin's irreverent reply is still part of modern culture: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
The Opposition, mainly clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, said, but, wait a minute. Our Lord and his Disciples were all mendicants, traveling from town to town, depending on the kindness of others to give them shelter and food. Is this not proof that poverty engenders virtue and is virtuous?
Oddly, after going a few rounds, one discovers that both sides of this argument center around one word: freedom.
There are two ways in which a man can be free. Either he has everything sufficient to support himself and his life and functions in a state of abundance, or, he has nothing, and so, is set free of worldly attachments and concerns.
The Founding Fathers stood with the Creationists and upheld the belief that if we accept "Adam's burdens" and care-taking responsibilities, everything is already divinely set up and ready to produce all the abundance anyone could wish for, and more than enough to provide every man, woman, and child with what they need to live happy and productive lives.
The Roman Catholic Church (and their Holy Roman Empire) took the other tack and adopted "The Doctrine of Scarcity"---attempting to end poverty by deliberately fostering more of it. Their answer to the Other Great Debate was that poverty is virtuous and leads to freedom from worldly cares, so the more poverty, the better.
Are you "burdened down" with your wealth, tired of managing your stock portfolio, yearning to be free of such responsibilities? The Church will take that burden from you, in exchange for food, shelter, and basic medical care.
Enter the modern welfare system and the schmarmy dark world of "social engineering".
In the process of relieving millions upon millions of people of their worldly goods, the Church has become unimaginably wealthy, has created the modern welfare state, and wittingly or unwittingly, also created a system of enslavement to the Church--- because when people are dependent upon you for food, shelter, and medical aid, not to mention, supposedly, the fate of their eternal souls, you exercise immense coercive power over them.
As usual, what started out as good intentions and scripture-based logic on the part of Catholic clergy three centuries ago, has led straight to Hell. While the Doctrine of Scarcity has led to social welfare via a different route than communism, it has had much the same result---- deprivation, suppression of individual motivation and initiative, and misuse of coercive power.
What of the other side of the argument?
We have mixed results. The Founding Fathers were correct that the Earth is more than abundant enough to support us all and provide abundance for everyone. Unfortunately, the moral and educational basis behind their original concept was never brought forward into the popular consciousness. Instead, the opportunity they created was seized upon by Robber Barons.
These men did not embrace the concept of Adam's care-taking role, much less did they embrace Jesus's concept of sharing the benefit of mutually owned resources; instead, these Robber Barons sought possession and control of natural resources for their own profit -- the more exclusive the control and the more monopolized, the better.
Thus we have the specter of giant mining operations in which resources belonging to the entire nation are stripped and used to profit a few, transportation that is controlled and monopolized for profit-taking, electrical and water and waste management utilities that are similarly monopolized for exercise of coercive power and the profit of a few, medical and pharmaceutical industries that are centered on profit instead of health, and so on.
As the only goal of these men and their corporations was profit for themselves and their shareholders, society has suffered as a whole and the Earth has suffered, too.
The Founders were right about our ability to create abundance, but the moral imperative for doing so --- and the envisioned end result, freedom, was lost in the shuffle.
Nobody on the street understood that freedom was the goal and that the creation of abundance was merely a mechanism to create freedom via abundance for Mankind as a whole.
The other part of the Founder's vision was that we could, with sufficient initiative, easily provide ourselves with ample largess, enabling us to support the weak, the old, the sick, the mentally infirm, orphans, and others unable to support themselves -- not with coercive institutionalized welfare, but with love.
In a world of abundance, there is no need to feel burdened by the poor, the young, the old, or the sick. Rather, once set free of the hard-scrabble, we are also set free to open our hearts and to care for those in need in our communities on a private basis.
The Founders took it for granted that from whatever religious or ethnic or racial background we came from, we would at least have the moral and ethical motivation to take care of our own and share our resources within our own communities. Our republican form of government supports and expedites this outcome, by allowing us to marshal both our public and private resources in pursuit of the Public Good.
After 350 years, the results are in and have yet to be tabulated.
Contestant Number One, the Roman Catholic Church through its secular institutions, including the United Nations and its megalomaniac UN CORP, standing for institutionalized poverty, cradle to grave welfare state, the end of private property, universal pauperism, coercive power wielded by the Church using forced dependency and control of access to food, water, shelter, money, and other resources to compel obedience to whatever the Church aka UN planners want.
Contestant Number Two, the American Dream Team, through their individual efforts, vision of freedom through abundance, community spirit, and common sense and enterprise ---- salted down with much-needed control over corporations and a refurbishing of corporate goals and management objectives worldwide. Continuance of private property and private enterprise, community-based welfare, local control of natural resources, and self-governance.
You are the judges. You get to decide the outcome of the Other Great Debate.
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The Catholic Church teachings on Poverty:ReplyDelete
The Catholic Church on Private Property:ReplyDelete