5/28/2010

Natural Resources Belong to God

 The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." (Psalm 24:1)

God forbid that, as we shift to green energy, private corporations will try to sell us our birthright of sun and wind.

It is time to put laissez-faire capitalism out of its misery. Now in its death throes, laissez-faire was invented by 18th Century humanists, sustained by the Social Darwinists of the 19th Century, and boosted later by the savage ideology of Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand, born Alissa Rosenbaum in Tzarist Russia, was traumatized as a little girl when the Bolsheviks stole her family's wealth. Henceforth, she saw all regulatory government as Bolshevik, including our elected government, "we the people." Her minions in the Reagan administration, most notably Alan Greenspan, deregulated corporate America. They got plenty of help from the Clinton regime, which was the most laissez-faire administration ever disguised as Democrat. Under Clinton, Congressional corporatists gutted the Glass-Steagall Act, which since 1933 protected our deposits from the banking schemes that, after 1999, stole our pensions and savings.

Laissez-faire capitalism is rooted in half-truths, and half-truths are lies. These lies gave us the 19th Century robber barons, the Great Depression, and Reaganomics' short-lived but disastrous euphoria. Laissez-faire lies tell the rich exactly what they want to hear, absolving them from the discomfort of collective social responsibility.

Such lies thoroughly contradict the teachings of Jesus: hence it becomes interesting to watch Evangelical Christians embrace the heritage of Rand and Reagan. For Jesus' teaching on the responsibilities of wealth, see the passages beginning at Luke 18:18, Luke 6:17, and Luke 16:19. Jesus' words were not intended to make us feel comfy.

What, specifically, are the lies of laissez-faire?
  • That enlightened self-interest can replace the ethic of community; 
  • that investors soley motivated by profit will support worker safety and environmental health;
  • that private corporations will regulate themselves; 
  • that the self-interest of the rich will trickle down to the poor;
  • that government is the enemy of the people; 
  • that the invisible hand of the free market is the hand of God.
Yet the biggest lie of all is the obscene notion that anyone but God can own our natural resources. We the people as stewards of the earth may manage natural resources collectively in a Commonwealth. But no private corporation has the right to own nature's energy and sell it to us - not coal, oil, timber, water or wind-power.

Wealth derived from natural resources is neither yours nor mine. It is God's, and it is to be shared as God's bounty, with respect for all creatures. To usurp the wealth of God is equivalent to the first sin in Eden, where Adam and Eve tried to be "like gods." The hubris of owning what only God can create must end in the tragedy of a fall.

The tragedy we see in the Gulf of Mexico is a clarion call to nationalize our energy production.

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