Whose Fault is it?
Hardly any group in society is guiltless. I don’t mean, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. This is indubitably true. I mean that we are up to our top lips in slurry, the liquid mess that runs from cowsheds – and whose fault is that? Firstly, it is governments, whose monetary and fiscal policies gave us to understand that we could borrow, over-spend and disregard the consequences – as they themselves were doing. Secondly, it is electorates, who took the government bribes. Only thirdly is it financial institutions who responded to the government signals that they would be safe from the consequences of bad decisions – they would be bailed-out.
That we live in a wicked dispensation is all too plain. We murder unborn children by the million. We deserve our fate. Murder is the most heinous of sins but all sins have their consequences. The sin of unthriftiness bears the seed of its own punishment. Spending above your means is a sin against yourself. It will find you out. It has.
The same era which saw the rise of capitalism also saw the decline of faith in the western world. But capitalism requires morality, and faith underpins morality. Faith is also a bulwark against stupidity. Catholicism has always been the champion of reason. Reason (or common sense, call it what you will) tells you that you live in a world of causes and effects. It tells you that hoping for the best is not effective against catastrophe if you take it into your head to jump off a ten-storey building. Your very body screams, “Don’t do it!” as you teeter on the brink. Your body is powerless to prevent you from living beyond your means. Reason and morality give you cause to refrain.
The decline of faith and the consequential decline of morality have gathered pace for over two hundred years. It is certainly true that there have been plentiful examples of rich young roués, gambling and spending themselves into ruin. But we are doing it on a societal scale.
Tom Woods is a Catholic. This is not to say that that is why he is right about everything; although, he is right about everything, or as near as makes no difference. But (and be fair!) he and other Austrians did predict the current crisis from first principles, while the mainstream were telling us that everything was just peachy. Don’t you owe it to yourself to hear from people who predicted the current miserable state of affairs? A doctor who correctly diagnoses your problem is probably the guy to go to for a solution (aka cure). Suit yourself.
The great laboratory for ‘progressive’ economics was the decade of the 1930s. The stock market crashed in October 1929. By the spring stocks and jobs were on the way up. FDR and the New Deal kyboshed the recovery and the depression lasted until 1939. Mainstream economists predicted that servicemen returning from WWII would encounter a disastrous job market. 1946 was the single most productive year in US History. Progressives don’t like history – surprise, surprise! Under the New Deal millions of pigs were killed and burnt to keep farm prices up (not to mention other farm produce). In other words, wealth was destroyed in the hopes that it would improve the economy. If these guys had been psychiatrists they would have taken sledge hammers to their patients’ skulls.
India is another great laboratory. Since they abandoned statist economics they have become a great economy. Concomitantly, the number of desperately poor people in India is shrinking. The East has learnt from the West. The West has its head up its arse. The Far East was never predominantly Christian - self-evidently. Perhaps this why Christianity's latest and greatest heresy, Socialism, did not take root. In China it withered and died in little over half a century. Tragically, during the early years of the twentieth century, many of the brightest and best of Asia's youth were contaminated by this heresy, without ever having come into contact with true Christianity. Their countrymen paid the price.