10 February 2014

To Whom Much Is Given…

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’—Matthew 25:14-30

The direct point of this parable is pretty obvious:  do the best you can.  But the secondary point, which dovetails nicely with I Corinthians 12, is that people have different lots in life.

To state it differently, everyone has different strengths, weaknesses, talents, abilities, hindrances, temptations, idiosyncrasies, limitations, etc.  People are different.  Consequently, people who are weaker, more short-sighted, less disciplined, and less intelligent will tend to have less wealth and fewer responsibilities than those who are stronger, more intelligent, more disciplined, and wiser.  This not only implies not only that equality doesn’t exist, but also that equality can never exist because those who are lower in rank (i.e. less able given a specific arbitrary metric) will naturally be subordinate to those higher in rank.

As an example, people who are incredibly clever with money tend to be quite rich (like Jewish banksters) while those who are stupid about money tend to be quite poor.  Even when the stupid get lucky (like winning the lottery) or get pitied (like receiving charity or welfare), they still never manage to retain wealth because their general inability to manage money wisely never changes.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that people who are stupid enough to play the lottery and gamble are consequently stupid at holding on to the money they win.  It is their stupidity that puts them in a position to win money, and it is also their stupidity that causes them to piss away their wealth.  In like manner, those who are so foolish with money that they are given charity or welfare out of pity also tend to piss away the money they receive on foolish things (like junk food, e.g.).

Extrapolating this out, it should be obvious that socialism can never work because it assumes that inequality is always and ever the result of some form of class oppression instead of the natural consequences of human diversity.  Essentially, it is theorized that inequality exists because of class oppression.  In reality, class “oppression” exists because of inequality.

Where Rand’s Objectivism and capitalist apologetics goes wrong is that it strongly encourages the elites to work the system in their favor without regard for those beneath them (in fairness, Objectivists tend to do this more than capitalists, though I have personally known some capitalists like this).  In essence, if you’re better than everyone, it’s best to get yours and not worry about anyone else, in the name of individualism, of course.  Others should look out for themselves, if they’re so concerned.

However, this sort of thinking is no more sustainable than socialism because it sows the seeds for proletarian discontent.  It does not follow that capitalists/objectivists should advocate for a nanny state, but it should at least give hardcore market individualists pause.  While one need not advocate for a nanny state, one need not also treat people like shit in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

To bring this full circle, consider Christ’s words in Luke 12:48, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”  What’s missing among a lot of the elite is the concept of stewardship.  If you are given certain abilities—say, cleverness with money—then it follows that one has a moral responsibility to use this ability in the best way possible.

Some time ago, Steve Sailer pointed out that a lot of minorities tend to not have much in the way of retirement savings.  This isn’t noteworthy unto itself, but what’s interesting is that the reason why most minorities don’t have retirement savings is because they themselves are in charge of their retirement savings, and most minorities tend to lack the requisite cleverness to manage this sort of thing.  What’s sad is that this modern system has virtually eliminated pensions (except among government workers, though most of those pension funds will be bankrupt eventually).  Pensions were a company’s way of providing retirement funds for loyal, honest workers.*  Basically, people who were clever with money took care of those who were not.

This is the essence of hierarchy:  those who are talented leaders look out for those below them.  Those who use their cleverness to abuse the less clever and the stupid are shirking their duty.  Those who use their power to abuse the powerless are shirking their duty.  Those who take advantage of or otherwise disregard their inferiors are shirking their duty.  If you are given a talent, you are not only expected to make use of it and improve upon it, but you are also expected to use your talent to help those who are lacking.  This is the Christian form of hierarchy writ large.

Unfortunately, the spread of egalitarianism is gutting this mindset and attitude as the assumptions of this philosophy necessarily contradict the entire notion of hierarchy.  Thus, as America slides away from its Anglo-Christian roots, inequality will ironically increase as those who are in charge continue to take advantage of those beneath them, while those of the lower class will increasingly distrust and resent the elites who abuse them.  Thus, another Christian paradox comes to bear:  those who deny human diversity in the name of egalitarianism will actually make people less equal and more divided.

* Of course, this is a highly dumbed down summary, as the history of labor and capital is slightly more complex than this.