By Katie Kieffer
I contend that if you profess to believe in God, you must also embrace capitalism.
Lately, many religious shepherds are abandoning reason in favor of sentiment. Catholic nuns are joining Occupy Wall Street revelers, like zombies witnessing to rapturous fans. Meanwhile, Jewish activist and commentator Jake Goodman is hailing the Manhattan demonstration (which includes numerous blatantly anti-Semitic protesters) as a group of people “philanthropizing with their feet.”
Even within the same religion, emotional progressives are clashing with rational believers. Dominican Sister Pat Daly of New Jersey told Catholic News Service, “I’m thrilled to see this momentum as more and more people are taking to the streets.” Conversely, Father Robert Sirico of Michigan told CNS, “The ethos of this all is the rage against wealth for wealth’s sake. … You don’t alleviate poverty by redistributing wealth, you alleviate poverty by creating wealth.”
If you believe that God created the universe, then you must assume that he wanted man to live differently from animals. Otherwise, man would not have reason. Upon realizing that reason both defines and differentiates man, wouldn’t you set logic—not sensation—as the moral compass for human activity? Or would you “shepherd the flock” by encouraging young people to bully job creators, embrace sloth, strut topless in Manhattan and openly mate in parks?
Squirrels scamper about and get frisky in public parks. Squirrels are also feral; they will never cultivate the land, own property, develop iPhones or create a monetary system. I think that humans who reject reason by acting like squirrels have no business preaching about God.
I find that atheists admit the metaphysical more than progressives who claim to believe in God. For, atheists revere reason while progressive “believers” adore emotion: They shop around until they find a church that washes them mindless with foolishly sentimental and entertaining services. They make themselves feel charitable by marching two-by-two past wealthy residences in midtown Manhattan with signs like “No Billionaire Left Behind.” They interpret the eighth commandment that God gave to Moses as: “Thou shalt share.”
Progressive “believers” cite charity when they call for the redistribution of wealth. But is charity the same thing as stealing? Because stealing violates the eighth commandment. If these zealots used reason instead of emotion to formulate their moral codes, they would never demand that the government confiscate private property from their wealthier brothers in the name of love.
Aristotelian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas contends that all men are governed by a natural law that is rooted in reason, not emotion. He argues thus in his Treatise on Law: “As, in man, reason rules and commands the other powers, so all the natural inclinations belonging to the other powers must needs be directed according to reason. Wherefore it is universally right for all men, that all their inclinations should be directed according to reason.”
Capitalism acknowledges reason and natural law whereas socialism denies natural law. By reason, we know that we have the right to own private property and the fruits of our labor. Capitalism is rational because it allows you to keep the fruits of your labor.
As John Locke points out, reason tells you that you own your body. No one else owns your body—not your neighbors, your family or the government. If you use your body to till the land and make it useful by growing wheat, then logic tells you that you own the land and any profits from the wheat, not the hungry passerby who comes across the land and steals the wheat that you grew.
Capitalism also allows for rational generosity whereas wealth redistribution fosters poverty. Reason says that you should be able to freely share your wheat with a person whom you know to be in genuine need or whom you wish to employ—not the able-bodied bum whom the government deems worthy of assistance.
Rational men glorify God just as glowing candles glorify a candlestick maker; men must behave rationally in order to completely function and prosper—just as candles must hold a flame in order to fulfill their purpose of brightening a room. Said differently, a man that acts like an animal must be as disappointing to his maker as a candle that cannot hold a flame.
I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. I believe that renouncing capitalism is irrational and that to deny reason is to deny the existence of God.