Sunday, August 13, 2006

Alright, my friends. Because of the goading of Angela, I have returned for real. I am quite aware that my last entry was not really a post so much as it was a pitiful excuse for my lack of presence these past weeks. Mea culpa. Nonetheless, here I am and we're about to go on a thrilling ride that will probably end up boring you to tears. However, perhaps somebody will actually read this and enjoy it..... or at least read it. On we go!

Oh, I love to bring up specters of things which don't really trouble us except in academic circles and a few countries that are heavy-handedly ruling their people. Today's topic is: “The Utopian Wishes of Marxism/Communism in Comparison to the Promises of a Free Market.” I am quite aware that I am not fully qualified to talk about this subject. Nevertheless, I have taken time to think some of this out after much consultation with people who know a bit more than me. Here we go.......

Although there are many insidious factors dormant in Marxism, one of the greatest dangers is the fact that it promises an economically-built utopia of equals. The quip that everyone says about communism is something like, "It's a great idea on paper but just does not work out in reality." For however much you may argue over the triteness of this comment, it is correct to a degree. (Pure Marxism on paper is not great thing. However, we will not get into that here!) Continuing on before I get my attention diverted....

We all know by looking at Communist regimes that they don't particularly work out very well. The problems which they experience range from economic stagnation to complete poverty. Additionally, there is always the concomitant governmental regulation of life that drives a stake through the heart of human liberty. We all know why a system of people striving together as equals doesn't work. This is because, in the words of George Orwell, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." The sins of fallen mankind will forever prevent a united front of pure progress. The Utopia can not be realized by the actions of mankind alone. More on the relationship of this to freedom later.

Now, in contrast to heavily socialized systems, we have people who are in favor of a completely free market. Now, I think that the free market has done wonders for economic prosperity. Indeed, this prosperity allows the United States of America to provide billions of dollars to the world community in order to help the less fortunate around us. The general fear of pure free-market economists is that governmental intervention will stagnate the system which allows for such good to be done. The banner is often waved to say that the free a market is, the more prosperity will follow.

Now, it is at this point that I feel that it is necessary to compare this to the Utopian hopes of communism. It is intriguing how both parties can so easily proclaim that all is possible by mankind's systems in their pure forms. Free markets open us up to the risk of extreme personal greed and subjugation without any checks from powers outside of the market itself. This in itself is utterly lamentable and is wrong. It is an example of how free-markets do not in all ways, at all times insure that the world is perfected. If somebody thinks that a Utopia is possible by means of free-market economics, they are sadly mistaken.

Now, I will retain a defense for the free market that I can not give to communism. The beauty of a free market is that it acknowledges the primacy of the individual owner and worker. All Americans should agree that the person should never be subordinated to the whole in such a way that he is robbed of his individuality. Many communist reformers have reacted to the aggrandizing of capital over labor, that is to the subordination of humans to the capital gained from production. The reformers often argue that this subordination is an intrinsic property of free markets. Perhaps I am going out on a limb here but I think I can argue that the protesters are wrong to say that this. I feel that it is the keynote of the greatest fall possible in a free market. A free market proclaims that the individual should be able to make choices about how he should use his sub-creational abilities, given by God and not the government.

The irony in all of this is that the very hole in the armor of free markets leads directly to the heart. The great risk of freedom is that it can be exploited against the freedom of others. The very risk of a free market is that it can act against its own ideals by this greatest risk. Freedom is sullied by the Fall. The greatest things can also be misused in the worst ways. This doesn't make them bad but perilously beautiful.

Now, along these lines, I must say, therefore, that completely unbridled free markets can not and should not be pursued. I think that freedom should be allowed as much as possible. Indeed, governmental action should try to promote the good use of the freedom instead of trying to eliminate it. Nevertheless, if individuals become as decadent as to deprive others of freedom, the government has the right to sanction the violators in order to restore a balance of freedom.

The utopian desires of economists are impossible but good. I think it is somewhat ironic that a free market should be so fully contrasted to communism, even by me in this rant. A free market should ultimately lead at least to equality: equal enjoyment of life. Why they are contrasted is because a fully government-controlled system can not allow for that, for the human person desires to use his will to make choices with respect to his sub-creational abilities. If freedom can not be permitted, enjoyment will not follow but thralldom will instead. Communism aims for equality but takes the wrong road on its way to get there.

I know, I know, I have rambled a lot. If this were a true scholarly essay, I would have sources and would have been so very organized. Well, I want to put these blog entries out here with some degree of frequency. Therefore, they're more rambled thoughts without citations. Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is the following:

By permitting human freedom, the free market allows for the most excellent opportunity for proper stewardship. The lack of this freedom as found in Marxism/Communism is a thralldom that deprives the individual of the ability to make the important choices of sub-creational beings. However, free markets must realize that they are not fully eschatologically oriented and must therefore not believe that humans alone can make a Utopia by means of economic systems. This ironically relates free markets to Communist markets, for Marxism purports that humanity can reach perfection by means of economic systems. The sinfulness of man will always remain to destroy any such Utopian hopes.

It is by union with God that mankind can find fulfillment. True eschatology must always look for a completely true human unity in the face of Goodness. This is the strength of Christian eschatology. We look for union with God, made possible by the union of God and man in Christ. Humanity can not be united in and of itself but only by being united with Another, with the One.


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