The Economy and the Campaign: The Death of False Gods

Fears about the economy. Anger on the campaign trail. Which concerns you most? How should we respond? 1…..We should have … Continued

Fears about the economy. Anger on the campaign trail. Which concerns you most? How should we respond?

1…..We should have a funeral for two dead false gods, the market and the American empire. (They died at the same time; in fact, they killed each other.) Then we should have a party to celebrate their deaths. Then?

2…..The more an idea becomes a successful operational ideology, the more its promoters believe in it, trust it, even come to worship it: the ideology morphs into a deity. When the false god fails, the deity is exposed as an idol and its worshipers as idolaters.

3…..”The God That Failed” is the title of many exposέs of economic idolatry. In 1949, Arthur Koestler (and others) produced the classic of this title, detailing the oncoming collapse of communism. / In 1991, it was the lead song in an album of this title (on the songwriter’s disappointment with Christian Science’s failure to save his mother’s life). / In 1999, in the March issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Harvey Cox wrote of “The Market as God,” unfettered capitalism’s commodification of creation, of which capitalists are owners (rather than, as in the Bible, stewards responsible to the Creator-Owner). Cox correctly perceived that the free market ideology had become an idolatry of infinite growth (“There is never enough.”). Ludwig von Mises’ Austrian School and Milton Friedman’s Chicago School successfully preached the now-shown-to-be-false gospel of unregulated capitalism as self-correcting: government, stay away. / In 2001, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in his “Democracy: The God That Failed,” heightened free-market capitalism into a full-blown libertarian philosophy of “natural order.” Democracy is “worse than monarchy” in interfering with private property. / In 2008, Chris Floyd updated (10.13.08 “counterpunch”) the attack on the market as God: “The God That Failed: The 30-Year Lie of the Market Cult.” That false god is dead.

4…..The other dead false God is political. Hoppe used his economic false god against democracy, which itself became in American politics a false god. “Democracy,” as a quasi-sacred export, became the name of American imperialism, which now has been crippled by trillions of dollars of national debt (with more bail-outs to come).

5…..In the terms of the “On Faith” question, the first dead god’s legacy is “fears about the economy.” The second dead god’s legacy is “Anger on the campaign trail.” “How should we respond?” First, by self-examination as to how America came to worship those false gods. Second, by taking the double humiliation as an invitation to re-ask life’s fundamental questions as to what is real, what is true, what leads to hope instead of fear and to justice and peace instead of anger. Third, by a more serious and costly personal engagement in the common life of our communities/nation/world. America has experienced a number of “great awakenings.” It’s time for another.

6…..The former “great awakenings” were personal and societal re-appropriations of the Christian faith and experience, turning from the idols to God, who has come to the world in Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I of course would welcome another such. But as Americans in an increasingly pluralistic culture, we all – of whatever particular faith – can humbly seek a better way for our people and world on the basis of our shared, common vision and values.

Willis E. Elliott
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  • DWVanWinkle1

    I agree with this post.The tragedy of this economic mess is the effect that it has and will have on the poor in the US and especially in the third world. I hope that it may lead us to discern the difference between American civil religion and true spirituality which seeks to love God and neighbor. I hope we can come to embrace the power of love and forsake the love of power.Peace,

  • sparrow4

    “6…..The former “great awakenings” were personal and societal re-appropriations of the Christian faith and experience, turning from the idols to God,”I think you forget the Judaism did this first. we are never going to have another “great awakening” unless Christians stop making this all about them. From morals to ethics to democracy, Christians claim all the credit and it is a mistake. If you truly want this country to come together and make the world a better place, you are going to have to lose some of the ego.

  • RMack1

    America truly has many False gods. They will in time all be cast down in a heap. The great Dollar god ties some of the other gods together, The MSM god, best resembles a many headed monster, out of control and not accountable to anybody but the god of this world, (Satan Himself).Be watchful now America, as you see these gods toppled, see if you can identify them as Dr Elliot has started to do here. Unholy-wood is a seething cauldron of Un Holy gods, full of perversion and every vile imagination. That one will be fun to watch come down………

  • Paganplace

    I mean, I dunno, Reverend. I’m starting to think your ‘American Mind’ has a wicked short attention span, here. πŸ™‚

  • omarontheplanetearth

    idol sony,idol bucky,and idol brainy.christianity proclaming to mankind that *sony*the savior is the way the truth and life. secularism and liberalism proclaming to mankind that bucky is the way the truth and life.brainism,reasonism and pragmatism proclaming to mankind that human brain and reason and empiricism is the way the truth and life.the american mind is a confused mix of all the above .is obama or mcain up to untangle the above confusion ?are they the new savior?idolism is the crucifiction of mankind .please vote for *prolife* worship your creator not the creation.

  • Paganplace

    *a la Monty Python, sing it with me:*Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam spam…..

  • kinghaz

    BLESSING, AND HONOUR, AND GLORY, AND POWER, BE UNTO HIM THAT SITTETH UPON THE THRONETHEY SPAKE AND SAID TO THE KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR, O KING, LIVE FOR EVER.I CHARGE YOU, O DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM, IF YE FIND MY BELOVED, THAT YE TELL HIM, THAT I AM SICK OF LOVE.THOU, O KING, SAWEST, AND BEHOLD A GREAT IMAGE. THIS GREAT IMAGE, WHOSE BRIGHTNESS WAS EXCELLENT, STOOD BEFORE THEE; AND THE FORM THEREOF WAS TERRIBLE.Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

  • kinghaz

    A PLUMBLINE IN HIS HANDAnd Saul answered and said, Am not I A BENJAMITE, OF THE SMALLEST OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL? and MY FAMILY THE LEAST OF ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN? WHEREFORE THEN SPEAKEST THOU SO TO ME?THIRTY PERSONSTo every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that SHE CALLED HIS NAME BENONI: BUT HIS FATHER CALLED HIM BENJAMIN.BY WHOM SHALL JACOB ARISE? FOR HE IS SMALL.Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of THE LATTER GROWTH; AND, LO, IT WAS THE LATTER GROWTH after the king’s mowings.

  • persiflage

    KINGHAZ – are you familiar with the term ‘narcissist’? You might be one – this in spite of your self-definition as a devout Christian. Or, you may be suffering from religious mania. Barring those two possibilities, you’re delusional…..and that would not be the preferred diagnosis. In any event, you’re more than irritating to rational posters……

  • kinghaz

    Quoting β€œIn any event, you’re more than irritating to rational posters……” thank youI WRITE NOT THESE THINGS TO SHAME YOU, but as my beloved sons I WARN YOU.DID NOT WE STRAITLY COMMAND YOU THAT YE SHOULD NOT TEACH IN THIS NAME?BOWED THE KNEE TO THE IMAGE OF BAALAnd the LORD GOD SAID UNTO THE SERPENT, BECAUSE THOU HAST DONE THIS, THOU ART CURSED ABOVE ALL CATTLE, AND ABOVE EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD; UPON THY BELLY SHALT THOU GO, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy lifeWHOSE GOD IS THEIR BELLY WHOSE GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAMEAnd at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.Lord, even THE DEVILS ARE SUBJECT UNTO US THROUGH THY NAME.BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and THEY SEE HIS SHAME.Then were THERE TWO THIEVES CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, one on the right hand, and another on the left.But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.Saying, DID NOT WE STRAITLY COMMAND YOU THAT YE SHOULD NOT TEACH IN THIS NAME? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.Whose end is destruction, WHOSE GOD IS THEIR BELLY, and WHOSE GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAME, who mind earthly thingsWherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,Lord, even THE DEVILS ARE SUBJECT UNTO US THROUGH THY NAME.BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and THEY SEE HIS SHAME.Then were THERE TWO THIEVES CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, one on the right hand, and another on the left.For the SON OF MAN IS LORD even of the sabbath day.But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,SO THE DEVILS BESOUGHT HIM, saying, If thou cast us out, SUFFER US TO GO AWAY INTO THE HERD OF SWINE.And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, LEGION: BECAUSE MANY DEVILS WERE ENTERED INTO HIM.And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to MARY MAGDALENE, OUT OF WHOM HE HAD CAST SEVEN DEVILS.