A Primer on the Idea Destroying America
I was a libertarian until I read an essay by a Catholic theologian explicating the theology of power. We have power over other people because we can affect their consciousness without their consent. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were not subject to death or concupiscence and only interacted freely.
After the Fall, Adam and Eve were in a Robinson Caruso economy. Should Adam and Eve cooperate with one another on a voluntary basis? Should one be the slave of the other? Should they fight each other to death? The correct answer is that it depends on the circumstances. If there is not enough food for two people to survive, warfare might be the best option. Slavery may be best if a beast of burden is required for survival.
The author has a time line: the Old Regime (3500 B.C. to 1650 AD), Liberalism (1650 to 1900), Progressivism (1900 to present). At the level of understanding, the Old Regime was superior to Liberalism and Progressivism because governments sought to be just and moral. Liberalism is absurd because there is no evidence that human beings have what liberals call “natural rights.” Progressivism is more rational than Liberalism because it is based on pragmatism. Pragmatism is rational because it leads to the correct solution to the Robinson Caruso economy.
An objection to this analysis might be that not all liberals believed human beings have “natural rights.” These liberals opted for laissez-faire capitalism because it provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This theory is based on the idea that the utility of goods is measured on an ordinal scale not a cardinal scale. If a government taxes a rich person to save 100 people from starving to death, all you can say is that total utility has decrease because instead of 101 people benefiting only 100 people benefited.
The trouble with using utility theory to justify laissez-faire capitalism is that it is an exercise in circular reasoning. It is like saying, “That government governs best which governs least.” Only people who believe our freedom is before God can explicate a rational theory of government.