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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Another Reader Objects

My posting titled Adam Smith vs. Robert Reich seems to have hit a lot of raw nerves.

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Responding to Adam Smith vs. Robert Reich, a reader emailed the following comment.

Great theory, but last time I checked, not everyone is working from the same Judeo-Christian background as you would need them to be in order for it to work. Humans beings are far from rational in their endeavors. Your utopian plan holds some water, but in order for it to work would require a massive brainwashing. It sounds like another version of socialism to me. You just call it something else.


My reply:

Thanks for your comment.

You are, of course, correct that not all humans behave rationally.  Judeo-Christian tradition neither assumes entirely rational people nor requires that.

Massive brainwashing is the opposite of the Judeo-Christian commandment that each individual love the Lord God with all his heart, soul, and mind, and that he love his neighbor as himself.  In fact, compelled behavior is the exact opposite of what Christianity preaches.  Legalistically following a set of bureaucratic regulations or religious laws won’t cut it, either.  It must come from a change of heart that leads an individual to want to do the right thing.

What Christianity’s creation of Western civilization after the fall of the Western Roman Empire demonstrates is that if a large number of people live in Christian faith (acting as benevolently as possible in individual-to-individual, Christian love), then a far better society develops than under either oriental despotism or socialism.

Christianity is hardly utopian (from the Greek word meaning nowhere).  We don’t have to theorize about it.  It’s an historical fact.  And history demonstrates the far greater effectiveness of Judeo-Christian morality compared to the alternatives.

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