Saturday, December 23, 2017

Throw that worthless servant outside

The following is from a someone I went to high school with who holds some sort of outreach position in the state Democrat party. He's second-generation Afghani but, rather remarkably for a youngish POC in an official Democrat capacity, almost never has anything to say about race. It's all Old Left focus on economic and social class. He was a vociferous Sanders supporter who much less enthusiastically got behind Clinton after his man was taken out back and shot.

His post involves Jesus and provides multiple excuses to mine the GSS, so in the Christmas spirit I'll share it here:
Aren't Christians supposed to be charitable, helping the poor and needy? I'm not sure why the rich need to get a tax break when the economy is strong, stocks are at all time highs, etc., meanwhile the middle class is shrinking, public education is underfunded, infrastructure is crumbling, healing people via healthcare is getting more expensive therefore less accessible, and wages are stagnant for people working their butts off at a minimum wage job. Seems like the opposite of Jesus' teachings.
It may be the naivete of relative youth, but even though there is an odd conflation of Christians and "the rich" here, it's refreshing coming from the left. In a 90%+ white country, these would be the things--unadulterated by race and intersectionality--our national politics would revolve around.

Even as a thought experiment it's difficult to imagine as much in the current year. So many of these putative bread-and-butter issues--the shrinking of the middle class, educational expenditures, health care costs, stagnant wages--are downstream of immigration. The National Question is everything.

Stepping away from metaphysics and towards polemics, on a private per capita basis Americans are the sixth most charitable people in the world. A magnanimous population we are, pathologically so.

From the GSS, the following graph shows the percentages of respondents, by religious affiliation, who made multiple charitable contributions in the past year (N = 5,238):


Having a lot of money makes it easier to give some of it away, so--and this will come as no surprise to the ADL or the $PLC--Jews easily come out on top. Christians do better than the heathens and Saracens, though.

Looked at from a similar angle, the percentages of respondents, this time by theistic orientation, who made multiple charitable contributions in the past year (N = 2,547):


Biblical exegesis on this question isn't straightforward. In Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the talents, a story is recounted in which those who've shown they are able to better utilize resources are entrusted with more resources because those who haven't been able to productively use resources in the past fail to put them to productive use in the future.

In other words, people with money earned that money because they were able to create more value over time than people without money were. There are of course lots of extenuating circumstances and distortions--mostly in the form of crony capitalism, political lobbying, and other means of purchasing state power--but that's not something only to be accentuated rather than attenuated by coercive redistribution.

More directly, there is 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

The question is not what causes poverty. Poverty is the default state of mankind. The question is what creates prosperity. The record of redistribution at the behest of an institution that monopolizes violence is, to put it mildly, mixed.

Later, our Pashtun offers the following:
If the best philosophers in the world can't figure out abortion, then maybe the average voter shouldn't be weighing in on it?
The best philosophers couldn't come to a consensus on a lot of things! Aristotle looked at his feet, Plato had his eyes in the skies. The Cynics, the Epicureans, and the Stoics were all venerable philosophical traditions in their own right and also fierce competitors in their time. Today we tend to describe something resembling the Cynics as Epicureans and then juxtapose them to Stoics while ignoring actual Epicureans, who represent a middle ground between the two, but the differences remain salient.

And there was even less agreement among the pre-Socratics!

Abortion is one of a handful of moral issues where progressive gains are probably going to stall out as public opinion ultimately ends up moving in the tradcon direction. It's getting increasingly difficult to maintain that a fetus in the third trimester, viable outside the womb, is not a human worthy of the same societal protections extended to the rest of the population. The percentages of respondents, by year of participation in the survey, who say a woman should be able to obtain an abortion for any reason:

Steady as she goes
GSS variables used: GIVCHRTY(1-4)(5-6), RELIG(1)(2)(3)(4)(5-8,10-13)(9), GOD(1)(2)(3-5)(6), YEAR, ABANY

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would love to see a survey of charitable giving broken down by religious affiliation controlled for income. I am wondering if the average observant wealthy Catholic gives more than the average wealthy atheist.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Looking just at middle/upper classes (the top 45% of the population, so not the 1% but more like the other side of Romney's infamous 47%), the percentages who haven't made multiple donations in the past year:

Protestant - 26.1%
Catholic - 23.6%
Jewish - 15.9%
No religion - 36.6%

Audacious Epigone said...

Sample for just the upper class is too small. There aren't enough middle/upper class Muslims to include, either.

DissidentRight said...

Aren't Christians supposed to be charitable, helping the poor and needy? I'm not sure why the rich need to get a tax break […] Seems like the opposite of Jesus' teachings.

Pick one:
1) Taxes are Christian charity.
2) The United States is secular and pan-religious, NOT a Christian theocracy.

Choices, choices…

Two of the reasons Christians absolutely oppose the welfare state is because the government is secular, and the chief goal of the welfare state is self-perpetuation. The chief goal of Christian charity is to support needy Christians (James 2-3), and secondarily to spread the gospel. It’s not to spread secularism or breed laziness. “He who does not work, neither should he eat.”

Also, there’s this little thing we like to call the Seventh Commandment. Wealth redistribution is theft, not a legitimate use of tax dollars. Christians don’t support theft.

and this will come as no surprise to the ADL or the $PLC--Jews easily come out on top.

I wonder how loose their “charitable” is. Somehow I don’t think donating to universities and political action groups is precisely what Jesus had in mind when he talked about giving to the poor, widows, and orphans.

In Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the talents

Keeping in mind the ‘kingdom of God’ as the center of Jesus parables, the talents represent the Word (the Gospel). The good servants represent those who took the Gospel they received and told others. The lazy servant receives the Gospel, but tells no one.

More directly, there is 2 Thessalonians 3:10,

Heh, nice.

 It's getting increasingly difficult to maintain that a fetus in the third trimester, viable outside the womb, is not a human worthy of

Besides the moral aspect, abortion suffers from the tragedy of the commons at the national level. The gains of abortion (money and energy saved by not having children) are held private, the costs (either everyone else has to have more children, or the nation contracts) are socialized.

Audacious Epigone said...

Dissident Right,

Yes, even more pithily is thou shall not steal, silly of me to have neglected that.

Wrt the talents, yes but the secular is used to communicate an elevated parallel, not to dismiss it. Render unto caesar.

Black Death said...

Don't you just love it when non-Christians, who very obviously know little to nothing about the Bible or Christianity in general, try to use snippets of Scripture to support their own political goals? "You claim to be a Christian, but you won't support blah blah blah. I'm not a Christian and I've read virtually nothing in the Bible, but I'm still in a position to judge your lack of devotion to your faith."

Don't you just love it?

Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth!

Audacious Epigone said...

Black Death,

It was especially egregious when those of us on west side of the Atlantic got word of the "refugee" invasion. A foreign traveler from a distant land was given refuge by an innkeeper! Never mind that Mary and Joseph were compelled against their will to go somewhere they didn't want to be and the place they went to was a mess because it was overrun with people it couldn't handle, a situation that could've been prevented by the powers that be if they hadn't acted they way they did.

Sid said...

AE,

As the Romans said, guests and fish are spoiled after three days.

The Mary and Joseph, according to the story, were taken in while Mary had to give birth. Then the couple departed Bethlehem with their new son and returned to Nazareth.

There's a fundamental difference between being a good host and adopting someone into your family. One is temporary and one is permanent. It's intellectually fraudulent to say that arguments for hosting people immediately carry over to adoption.

On a different note, the Syrian people showed absolutely no welcoming or compassion to Holocaust survivors who moved to Israel. None whatsoever. Maybe they were right to be mad, and maybe Israel has done things over the decades that unnecessarily antagonized Syrians. But on a fundamental level, no, the Syrians demonstrated no magnanimity to people who had seen hell.

Therefore, I don't see any reason to host Syrian refugees. They already showed what they would've done in our position.

DissidentRight said...

AE: Wrt the talents, yes but the secular is used to communicate an elevated parallel, not to dismiss it. Render unto caesar.

Exactly.

Black Death: "You claim to be a Christian, but you won't support blah blah blah. I'm not a Christian and I've read virtually nothing in the Bible, but I'm still in a position to judge your lack of devotion to your faith."

I recall the cuck mindset. German Lutherans have a natural inclination to “interpret everything in the kindest way” (i.e., Luther’s meaning of the Eighth Commandment). Our own minds were (are) straining to make excuses for enemy war propaganda.

With the first mental reorientation, the silliness of the arguments becomes apparent.
With the second mental reorientation, the appropriate response–pithy rhetorical mockery–becomes apparent.

E.g., “Luke’s and Matthew’s genealogies are different!”
“Huh, it’s almost as if Mary and Joseph weren’t brother and sister…”

Sid: There's a fundamental difference between being a good host and adopting someone into your family. One is temporary and one is permanent. It's intellectually fraudulent to say that arguments for hosting people immediately carry over to adoption.

There is a disastrous Christian error expressed on the one pole by pacifism and monasticism (Anabaptists, esp. the Amish, monks) and on the other pole by papal theocracy (late-medieval Roman Catholicism).

In the first case, Christianity is made to utterly subvert the whole life of the Christian such that the Christian becomes a civilizational parasite: he may refuse to father children, refuse to defend his family or homeland, or refuse to be productive.

In the second case, the institutional church assumes State power, subverting and interfering with the Church’s actual mission.

The solution to this dilemma is to recognize (obviously) that civilization exists independently of the Church, just as the principles and materials of construction exist independently of the chapel and the principles of budgeting and accounting exist independently of the Bible.

Therefore there are two sources informing the Christian’s life: Christianity, and the world. While Christianity should permeate the whole life of the Christian, it cannot be permitted to dominate or subvert arenas beyond its jurisdiction.

In particular, the idea that Christianity can offer political insights (such as on the subject of refugees) must be taken with with endless skepticism.

Prior to the mass introduction of free societies, the vast majority of Christians were not participants in the State and were therefore free of worry about these policy questions. For example, to merely execute one’s duty as a soldier is not the same as being responsible for declaring war, so the Christian can justify soldiering on the basis of Christian instruction to submit to authorities.

A free society complicates matters, because every man contains a little piece of sovereignty in him (though subordinated to the Constitution and law). So every American Christian in that sense becomes partially responsible for State policy. In a free society, it is absolutely essential for Christians (such as German Lutherans) to understand that they must take up the responsibilities that where very recently the sole concern of the nobles or the Kaiser.

We can no longer claim to be merely carrying out orders.

Audacious Epigone said...

Sid,

Ourselves and our posterity are more than reason enough for us to oppose, without qualification, any settlement of 'refugees'--or immigrants of any kind, from anywhere, for as long as we choose to maintain a moratorium.

The potential religious justification (or lack thereof) and the justification from reciprocity (or lack thereof) are merely additional reasons not to.

DissidentRight,

Very well put, thanks.

DissidentRight said...

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"public education is underfunded"

This one annoys the hell out of me. Spending per pupil in the U.S. is on par with or exceeds spending in EU and Commonwealth countries. https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/education-spending.htm Obviously, there is some variation among districts, but even "low" spending in the U.S. is on par with first world norms. And poor kids and racial minorities receive more spending per pupil on average, not less. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/05/25/do-school-districts-spend-less-money-on-poor-and-minority-students/("on average, poor and minority students receive between 1-2 percent more resources than non-poor or white students in their districts")

Just how would increasing spending help students learn more anyway? Would the teachers try harder if you paid them more? Would hiring more administrators help kids learn more? Does building a fancy new swimming pool or computer lab (as if kids don't have computers at home or in their pocket) help them learn? Increasing education spending is simply code for transferring taxpayer money to teacher's unions, administrators, and politically-connected construction contractors.

No one thinks throwing money at 5'7" Joshua Cohen will turn him into an NBA star; why do people think showering TeQuavius Jones with money will turn him into the next Albert Einstein?

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Every marginal dollar spent on education in the US is a dollar tossed in the fire.

One of the golden oldies. I was 23 when I wrote that. What an audacious little chump!

legateofjudea said...

AE - a brief internet search shows that Jewish charitable contributions are skewed towards social service charities to a greater extent than non-Jews:

Jewish Donors Are Generous, Especially to Non-Jewish Causes
https://www.philanthropy.com/article/Jewish-Donors-Are-Generous-to/154439

This is not surprising given that the Jewish religious obligation is to give to the poor:
http://www.jewfaq.org/tzedakah.htm

These are positive commandments 40 through 52 of 613:
http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm