Commenting on Warren Buffet’s call to raise taxes on the “mega-rich,” North Carolina Minister Andrew Daugherty says this on Associated Baptist Press (HT: RealClearReligion):

Unlike some of our political leaders and media pundits, the gospel does not make false distinctions between the “makers” and the “takers,” the deserving and the undeserving or the hard-working and the hardly-working. Instead, we are told that the first Christians had all things in common. They would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. In other words, no person had too little and no person had too much, whether or not their means were greater or lesser. Applied to our capitalist society, this is a dubious economic philosophy. Applied as a compassionate ethic, it supplies a model of shared sacrifice that Buffett calls for in our taxation system.

A much more reliable guide to understanding why and how the earliest Christians shared their possessions is Jaroslav Pelikan’s commentary on Acts. Pelikan, author of the five-volume work The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, actually does see a distinction between the “makers” and the “takers.” Perhaps a better description of these first Christians would be “givers.” Pelikan points to the very different historical situation that developed for the Church as it grew, including a role for the state in providing “mutual support.” But the Book of Acts was never intended as a template for tax policy, even less so in the 21st Century. (emphasis mine in the following Pelikan quote):

Paul’s words to the Corinthians provide another key to the accounts in Acts of the mutual support of the members of Christ’s family, with their stipulation that in giving “according to their means … and beyond their means” the Macedonians acted “of their own free will.”

On the narrow basis solely of the descriptions earlier in Acts, “all who believed … had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all” (2:44-45), and again, “there was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and the distribution was made to eash as any had need” (4:34-35), it would be difficult to tell whether these were instances of contribution or of confiscation. But a careful review of the longest sustained account of the process, the tragic story of Ananias and Sapphhira (5:1-11) makes it clear that the property and its proceeds remained “at your disposal” (5:4), so that here, too, the support was an act of their own free will. The report in the immediately following chapter, that “the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution” (6:1) provides at least a glimpse into the practical difficulties attendant on such mutual support.

Significantly, the author of Acts prefaces that glimpse with the explanation that “in these days … the disciples were increasing in number” (6:1). This can be seen as an anticipation of the vast complications that were to follow in the subsequent centuries, when the sheer size and the geographical spread of the Christian movement made such a direct and simple response to famine as is described here difficult to administer, and then when the Christianization of the Roman Empire brought about the reallocation of responsibility for “mutual support among the members of Christ’s family” between the state and the church and the monastic communities.

  • Thomas Lasher

    I would also point to Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: “We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” (2 Thes 3:7-10)
    It would seem that the early Christians placed an emphasis on *working* to earn one’s keep. The Nanny State hand-outs that are so often the result of liberal welfare policies do not fit the example laid out by Paul.

  • Roger McKinney

    Nice post! Thanks!

    In addition, notice that in II Thessalonians Paul is taking up a collection for the saints in Jerusalem. Why were they so poor in such a short time?

    Just speculation, but it could be that the Jerusalem church in the early days after the resurrection expected Christ to return soon and establish his kingdom. So they sold everything in anticipation of that.

    As a result, they had nothing to produce more. Christ didn’t return immediately. They quickly consumed what they  had and became very poor.

  • Andrew of Mornington

    This author is clearly ignoring the fact that taxation and
    charity are two very different things. While his article correctly demonstrates
    that Christian charity is a matter of free will (which the proto-Commune of the
    early Christians described in Acts shows), it fails to acknowledge the
    legitimate God-given authority of the state to exact taxes from the people
    for whatever purposes it sees fit.

    Jesus Christ Himself acknowledged this when, in answer to the
    complaint over taxes & the question put to him by Pharisees, He answered:
    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that
    are God’s” (Matt 22:21).

    Therefore, taxes are a part of Biblical govt as a matter of
    principle. But this isn’t the issue. The real issue here is not the taxes but
    the redistribution of wealth from the super rich to the extremely poor in the USA.

     

    The answer to this question is just what sort of a country
    you want.

     

    If you want a society that *lives* by the Christian principles
    it *claims* to believe in, then it will demonstrate compassion for the poor by
    giving them enough to live on (especially when not able to work), imposing
    controls on rampant greed & self-indulgence, protect the powerless from the
    predations of powerful & ruthless companies & individuals, combat
    corruption (such as restrictions on political donations), and make medicines
    affordable for the sick.

    However, if you want a nation divided between the rich and
    those who are too poor to even properly look after themselves & their
    families (e.g. 30% of the US population couldn’t even afford basic medical care
    in 2010), between the tiny powerful elite and a mass of people who have no
    voice & no power in a system that’s designed to represent the interests of
    the rich and powerful (eg court system), & where “Main St pays for Wall St”… then continue
    with ‘business as usual’.

    But mark my words: the combination of unchecked greed,
    corruption & opportunism at the top, and poverty, despair & hunger at
    the bottom (& who have nothing left to lose) is an explosive mix – one that
    requires but a spark to set it off (eg look at the riots in LA or the UK, or
    the late ancient Roman Republic, or the Revolutions in France & Russia).

    • Roger McKinney

      “it fails to acknowledge the legitimate God-given authority
      of the state to exact taxes from the people for whatever purposes it sees
      fit.”

       Christians have never in history given the state the power
      to “exact taxes from the people for whatever purposes it sees fit.” That is a
      description of the evil that a king would commit against the people given by
      God to Samuel when Israel
      wanted a king.

       Church scholars debated the limits of government and
      taxation in the 16th century and determined that the state has a
      limited legitimate role – protection of life, liberty and property. It could
      tax people for the funds to carry out that role, but anything more was theft.
      They did not include redistribution as a legit role of the state.  

       “it will demonstrate compassion for the poor by giving them
      enough to live on”

       No one on the planet disagrees with that. The disagreement
      is over how to accomplish it.  
      “However, if you want a nation divided between the rich and those
      who are too poor to even properly look after themselves & their families…”

       You reveal the Marxist foundations of our educational
      system. Until Marx, no one ever suggested that free markets would create
      greater inequality of wealth. Marx was the first to claim that free markets
      would cause a small minority of wealthy people to gain all the wealth and the
      rest would begin to starve until they rose up and rebelled.

       History has proven Marx completely wrong, but his myth
      persists. The advent of capitalism accomplished the greatest redistribution of
      wealth in the history of mankind. The middle class was about 3% of the
      population before capitalism. 95% of people lived on the edge of starvation.

       “the combination of unchecked greed, corruption &
      opportunism at the top, and poverty, despair & hunger at the bottom (&
      who have nothing left to lose) is an explosive mix…”

       Look more closely at the rioting in Greece
      and London, and the demonstrations
      that brought down the government in Egypt.
      All happened as a result of decades of socialism. Socialism is great as long as
      the money lasts. The money ran out in those countries and the people responded
      by rioting. Free markets played no role whatsoever in those countries.

      • Andrew of Mornington

        You said: “Christians
        have never in history given the state the power
        to “exact taxes from the people for whatever purposes it sees fit.” That is a
        description of the evil that a king would commit against the people given by
        God to Samuel when Israel
        wanted a king”.

        Wrong. Look at the middle ages as an example. So long
        as the medieval state respected the Church & the basic rights of the
        civilian population, & waged war with some degree of honour, then it was
        acceptable for the govt to do pretty much what it liked (in line with Christ’s
        division between Caesar & God).

         

        You said: Church
        scholars debated the limits of government and
        taxation in the 16th century and determined that the state has a
        limited legitimate role – protection of life, liberty and property. It could
        tax people for the funds to carry out that role, but anything more was theft.
        They did not include redistribution as a legit role of the state. ”

        Liberty is a modern term, and the right to property wasn’t
        protected until the high-late middle ages (mainly for towns & upper class).

        Freedom itself was very differently understood in the
        middle ages – it meant freedom from slavery, not the existence of the idea of
        “absolute freedom” (or libertarianism) we have today, which means freedom from
        any constraint. So you had peasants who were considered “free” because they
        weren’t slaves, & yet had little or no rights to land, property, movement,
        or anything really – except that of being looked after in society (to some
        extent) by the Church or their feudal lords.

        Additionally, it was obviously considered acceptable
        for nobles & rulers to be charitable to the poor – with the money they
        obviously had procured through rents & taxes. In fact, it was considered
        better if the ruler was generous to the poor than engage in the endemic warfare
        of the period.

        The enlightenment & the emerging capitalism,
        together with the ideology of the Protestant Work Ethic, largely ended this
        generosity; which in time led to socialism, Trade unionism, the many charities
        of the Dissenting Protestant Churches in the cities, etc.

         

        You said: “Until Marx, no one ever suggested
        that free markets would create
        greater inequality of wealth. Marx was the first to claim that free markets
        would cause a small minority of wealthy people to gain all the wealth and the
        rest would begin to starve until they rose up and rebelled.”

        Umm, you actually had a lot of people who opposed the
        Enclosures in England, the Clearances in Scotland, the Evictions in Ireland,
        & who all basically had the same criticisms – which were expounded upon by
        Marx years later (but omitting religious belief & the cultural &
        socio-political loyalty the British had to their village/clan lives).

        However, I agree that
        Marx was the first to orchestrate these criticisms within a single theory that
        opposed the system itself, as opposed to merely resisting social injustices as
        an expression of localised grievances.

        You said: “History has proven
        Marx completely wrong, but his myth
        persists. ”

        Really? Was that just because the USSR & the Warsaw Pact collapsed?

        If you base your claim on that then you have a long
        way to go. The Soviet bloc collapsed for a number of key reasons – chief among
        them being the stifling of the innovation & ingenuity of their own peoples
        through brutal oppression, the diversion of a massive proportion of wealth away
        from social projects towards the military (increasing during the 1970’s &
        1980’s), the paranoid imperialism of the politico-military elite in the USSR,
        the concentration of power into the hands of the aforesaid elite (which started
        all the rest), incompetent corrupt leadership (exemplified by Chernobyl), and
        the forced collectivisation of peasant farms – all of which undermined social
        aspiration & confidence, and economic performance.

         

        But all of this points to human frailties which the
        events of the 1920’s & 1930’s unleashed in the USSR (& which had its
        roots in Russian society in the 19thC), and doesn’t in any way undermine Marx’s
        critique of the extremely unjust & unequal & undemocratic capitalist
        societies that he observed in England and Germany in the mid 19thC, nor the
        just demand for social justice & socio-economic & political equality
        that he saw as being so lacking in capitalist societies.

        His biggest mistake wasn’t in advocating the above principles,
        but it lay in totally rejecting God, & by doing so, rejecting the very
        Being Who might have aided his cause & softened its edges.

         The Bible is full of demands for social justice &
        helping the weak, poor & oppressed, & sternly warns those who fail to
        heed them (especially for those who oppress them). It also praised those kings
        who helped the poor & needy, & demonstrated God’s anger towards those
        who instead oppressed them (& the consequences).

        You said: “The advent of capitalism accomplished the greatest
        redistribution of
        wealth in the history of mankind. The middle class was about 3% of the
        population before capitalism. 95% of people lived on the edge of
        starvation.”

        You need to do a lot more research I think. But I
        agree if you mean the wars of imperialism the European powers fought in the
        Americas, India, Africa & etc resulted in the “greatest redistribution of
        wealth in the history of mankind”, as indigenous peoples were conquered and
        robbed of their wealth & ancestral lands, & very often massacred.

         

        Do you realise what actually happened in the
        Enclosures, the Clearances & the Evictions in the British
        Isles?

        The ordinary people in Scotland
        & Ireland were kicked
        off their land which belonged to the Clann (not to the Chieftain, who by the
        late 18thC had become more of a landlord, & often English,
        especially if in Ireland),
        & forced into the big towns or to emigrate to the American colonies. Those
        who resisted were killed or forced to flee. Mass “ethnic cleansing” happened
        both in Ireland & Highland Scotland
        (the Lowlands having been de-Gaelicised
        centuries earlier).

        The supposedly celebrated yeoman farmers of England
        lost their ancient ancestral right of access to the Common land (called the Commons)
        in the villages, which they had needed in order to rear milk cows & meat
        livestock to augment their agricultural produce; by the hated “Enclosures Act”
        (enacted by the same men who were the gentry who profited from it & the
        magistrates who enforced it). This law allowed the rich to seize the Commons
        & enclose it in a fence, & legally prevent the farmers from gaining
        access to it.

        The reason for all of the above? Sure, anti-Gaelic
        racism played a part (in Scotland & Ireland), but the underlying motivation
        was capitalistic greed on the part of the elite, who wanted to make “scientific
        farms” in line with Enlightenment/Improvement thinking, & reap huge
        financial rewards.

         

        Do you know why there was such huge crime waves in England in the
        17-18-19th centuries? All of these disgruntled farmers were
        effectively forced off their land, & in many cases literally so. Many
        turned to crime to survive, many emigrated to the Colonies (many
        involuntarily), many migrated to the industrialising towns, where they relied
        on crafts such as weaving to survive.

        BUT, when inventions such as the “Spinning Jenny”
        were introduced in order to cut labour costs & increase productivity (more
        capitalist terms), these town workers lost their jobs as they were replaced by
        machines, & having NO safety net they were desperate, & very often
        turned to theft & prostitution (or the Army during wartime) in order to
        survive.

         

        Do you know what happened during the Irish famine?

        The English govt exacerbated the Potato Blight
        through its unwillingness to act outside of the bounds set by laissez faire
        capitalism & “providentialism”, & instead of spending the necessary
        money (for fear that it would distort the market) so allowed 1M to die, &
        another 1M to be forced to flee to the USA.

        Of course, racism did play its part, and the UK govt did
        initially help to some extent, but political weakness, division &
        indecisiveness resulted in the Treasury calling the shots, which under
        Trevalyan et al (I think that’s how you spell his name) meant that capitalist
        ideology ruled.

         

        Do you know what’s happened in the Third
        World because of capitalism?

        Do you know why there are such huge urban slums in
        the USA?

        I could go on, but I think you get the point.

         

        You need to do a lot more research I think. But I
        agree if you mean the wars of imperialism the European powers fought in the
        Americas, India, Africa & etc resulted in the “greatest redistribution of
        wealth in the history of mankind”, as indigenous peoples were conquered and
        robbed of their wealth & ancestral lands, & very often massacred.

         

        Do you realise what actually happened in the
        Enclosures, the Clearances & the Evictions in the British
        Isles?

        The ordinary people in Scotland
        & Ireland were kicked
        off their land which belonged to the Clann (not to the Chieftain, who by the
        late 18thC had become more of a landlord, & often English,
        especially if in Ireland),
        & forced into the big towns or to emigrate to the American colonies. Those
        who resisted were killed or forced to flee. Mass “ethnic cleansing” happened both
        in Ireland & Highland Scotland
        (the Lowlands having been de-Gaelicised
        centuries earlier).

        The supposedly celebrated yeoman farmers of England
        lost their ancient ancestral right of access to the Common land (called the
        Commons) in the villages, which they had needed in order to rear milk cows
        & meat livestock to augment their agricultural produce; by the hated
        “Enclosures Act” (enacted by the same men who were the gentry who profited from
        it & the magistrates who enforced it). This law allowed the rich to seize
        the Commons & enclose it in a fence, & legally prevent the farmers from
        gaining access to it.

        The reason for all of the above? Sure, anti-Gaelic
        racism played a part (in Scotland & Ireland), but the underlying motivation
        was capitalistic greed on the part of the elite, who wanted to make “scientific
        farms” in line with Enlightenment/Improvement thinking, & reap huge
        financial rewards.

         

        Do you know why there was such huge crime waves in England in the
        17-18-19th centuries? All of these disgruntled farmers were
        effectively forced off their land, & in many cases literally so. Many
        turned to crime to survive, many emigrated to the Colonies (many
        involuntarily), many migrated to the industrialising towns, where they relied
        on crafts such as weaving to survive.

        BUT, when inventions such as the “Spinning Jenny”
        were introduced in order to cut labour costs & increase productivity (more
        capitalist terms), these town workers lost their jobs as they were replaced by
        machines, & having NO safety net they were desperate, & very often
        turned to theft & prostitution (or the Army during wartime) in order to
        survive.

         

        Do you know what happened during the Irish famine?

        The English govt exacerbated the Potato Blight
        through its unwillingness to act outside of the bounds set by laissez faire
        capitalism & “providentialism”, & instead of spending the necessary
        money (for fear that it would distort the market) so allowed 1M to die, &
        another 1M to be forced to flee to the USA.

        Of course, racism did play its part, and the UK govt did
        initially help to some extent, but political weakness, division &
        indecisiveness resulted in the Treasury calling the shots, which under
        Trevalyan et al (I think that’s how you spell his name) meant that capitalist
        ideology ruled.

      • Andrew of Mornington

        You said: “Christians
        have never in history given the state the power
        to “exact taxes from the people for whatever purposes it sees fit.” That is a
        description of the evil that a king would commit against the people given by
        God to Samuel when Israel
        wanted a king”.

        Wrong. Look at the middle ages as an example. So long
        as the medieval state respected the Church & the basic rights of the
        civilian population, & waged war with some degree of honour, then it was
        acceptable for the govt to do pretty much what it liked (in line with Christ’s
        division between Caesar & God).

         

        You said: Church
        scholars debated the limits of government and
        taxation in the 16th century and determined that the state has a
        limited legitimate role – protection of life, liberty and property. It could
        tax people for the funds to carry out that role, but anything more was theft.
        They did not include redistribution as a legit role of the state. ”

        Liberty is a modern term, and the right to property wasn’t
        protected until the high-late middle ages (mainly for towns & upper class).

        Freedom itself was very differently understood in the
        middle ages – it meant freedom from slavery, not the existence of the idea of
        “absolute freedom” (or libertarianism) we have today, which means freedom from
        any constraint. So you had peasants who were considered “free” because they
        weren’t slaves, & yet had little or no rights to land, property, movement,
        or anything really – except that of being looked after in society (to some
        extent) by the Church or their feudal lords.

        Additionally, it was obviously considered acceptable
        for nobles & rulers to be charitable to the poor – with the money they
        obviously had procured through rents & taxes. In fact, it was considered
        better if the ruler was generous to the poor than engage in the endemic warfare
        of the period.

        The enlightenment & the emerging capitalism,
        together with the ideology of the Protestant Work Ethic, largely ended this
        generosity; which in time led to socialism, Trade unionism, the many charities
        of the Dissenting Protestant Churches in the cities, etc.

         

        You said: “Until Marx, no one ever suggested
        that free markets would create
        greater inequality of wealth. Marx was the first to claim that free markets
        would cause a small minority of wealthy people to gain all the wealth and the
        rest would begin to starve until they rose up and rebelled.”

        Umm, you actually had a lot of people who opposed the
        Enclosures in England, the Clearances in Scotland, the Evictions in Ireland,
        & who all basically had the same criticisms – which were expounded upon by
        Marx years later (but omitting religious belief & the cultural &
        socio-political loyalty the British had to their village/clan lives).

        However, I agree that
        Marx was the first to orchestrate these criticisms within a single theory that
        opposed the system itself, as opposed to merely resisting social injustices as
        an expression of localised grievances.

        You said: “History has proven
        Marx completely wrong, but his myth
        persists. ”

        Really? Was that just because the USSR & the Warsaw Pact collapsed?

        If you base your claim on that then you have a long
        way to go. The Soviet bloc collapsed for a number of key reasons – chief among
        them being the stifling of the innovation & ingenuity of their own peoples
        through brutal oppression, the diversion of a massive proportion of wealth away
        from social projects towards the military (increasing during the 1970’s &
        1980’s), the paranoid imperialism of the politico-military elite in the USSR,
        the concentration of power into the hands of the aforesaid elite (which started
        all the rest), incompetent corrupt leadership (exemplified by Chernobyl), and
        the forced collectivisation of peasant farms – all of which undermined social
        aspiration & confidence, and economic performance.

         

        But all of this points to human frailties which the
        events of the 1920’s & 1930’s unleashed in the USSR (& which had its
        roots in Russian society in the 19thC), and doesn’t in any way undermine Marx’s
        critique of the extremely unjust & unequal & undemocratic capitalist
        societies that he observed in England and Germany in the mid 19thC, nor the
        just demand for social justice & socio-economic & political equality
        that he saw as being so lacking in capitalist societies.

        His biggest mistake wasn’t in advocating the above principles,
        but it lay in totally rejecting God, & by doing so, rejecting the very
        Being Who might have aided his cause & softened its edges.

         The Bible is full of demands for social justice &
        helping the weak, poor & oppressed, & sternly warns those who fail to
        heed them (especially for those who oppress them). It also praised those kings
        who helped the poor & needy, & demonstrated God’s anger towards those
        who instead oppressed them (& the consequences).

        You said: “The advent of capitalism accomplished the greatest
        redistribution of
        wealth in the history of mankind. The middle class was about 3% of the
        population before capitalism. 95% of people lived on the edge of
        starvation.”

        You need to do a lot more research I think. But I
        agree if you mean the wars of imperialism the European powers fought in the
        Americas, India, Africa & etc resulted in the “greatest redistribution of
        wealth in the history of mankind”, as indigenous peoples were conquered and
        robbed of their wealth & ancestral lands, & very often massacred.

         

        Do you realise what actually happened in the
        Enclosures, the Clearances & the Evictions in the British
        Isles?

        The ordinary people in Scotland
        & Ireland were kicked
        off their land which belonged to the Clann (not to the Chieftain, who by the
        late 18thC had become more of a landlord, & often English,
        especially if in Ireland),
        & forced into the big towns or to emigrate to the American colonies. Those
        who resisted were killed or forced to flee. Mass “ethnic cleansing” happened
        both in Ireland & Highland Scotland
        (the Lowlands having been de-Gaelicised
        centuries earlier).

        The supposedly celebrated yeoman farmers of England
        lost their ancient ancestral right of access to the Common land (called the Commons)
        in the villages, which they had needed in order to rear milk cows & meat
        livestock to augment their agricultural produce; by the hated “Enclosures Act”
        (enacted by the same men who were the gentry who profited from it & the
        magistrates who enforced it). This law allowed the rich to seize the Commons
        & enclose it in a fence, & legally prevent the farmers from gaining
        access to it.

        The reason for all of the above? Sure, anti-Gaelic
        racism played a part (in Scotland & Ireland), but the underlying motivation
        was capitalistic greed on the part of the elite, who wanted to make “scientific
        farms” in line with Enlightenment/Improvement thinking, & reap huge
        financial rewards.

         

        Do you know why there was such huge crime waves in England in the
        17-18-19th centuries? All of these disgruntled farmers were
        effectively forced off their land, & in many cases literally so. Many
        turned to crime to survive, many emigrated to the Colonies (many
        involuntarily), many migrated to the industrialising towns, where they relied
        on crafts such as weaving to survive.

        BUT, when inventions such as the “Spinning Jenny”
        were introduced in order to cut labour costs & increase productivity (more
        capitalist terms), these town workers lost their jobs as they were replaced by
        machines, & having NO safety net they were desperate, & very often
        turned to theft & prostitution (or the Army during wartime) in order to
        survive.

         

        Do you know what happened during the Irish famine?

        The English govt exacerbated the Potato Blight
        through its unwillingness to act outside of the bounds set by laissez faire
        capitalism & “providentialism”, & instead of spending the necessary
        money (for fear that it would distort the market) so allowed 1M to die, &
        another 1M to be forced to flee to the USA.

        Of course, racism did play its part, and the UK govt did
        initially help to some extent, but political weakness, division &
        indecisiveness resulted in the Treasury calling the shots, which under
        Trevalyan et al (I think that’s how you spell his name) meant that capitalist
        ideology ruled.

         

        Do you know what’s happened in the Third
        World because of capitalism?

        Do you know why there are such huge urban slums in
        the USA?

        I could go on, but I think you get the point.

         

        You need to do a lot more research I think. But I
        agree if you mean the wars of imperialism the European powers fought in the
        Americas, India, Africa & etc resulted in the “greatest redistribution of
        wealth in the history of mankind”, as indigenous peoples were conquered and
        robbed of their wealth & ancestral lands, & very often massacred.

         

        Do you realise what actually happened in the
        Enclosures, the Clearances & the Evictions in the British
        Isles?

        The ordinary people in Scotland
        & Ireland were kicked
        off their land which belonged to the Clann (not to the Chieftain, who by the
        late 18thC had become more of a landlord, & often English,
        especially if in Ireland),
        & forced into the big towns or to emigrate to the American colonies. Those
        who resisted were killed or forced to flee. Mass “ethnic cleansing” happened both
        in Ireland & Highland Scotland
        (the Lowlands having been de-Gaelicised
        centuries earlier).

        The supposedly celebrated yeoman farmers of England
        lost their ancient ancestral right of access to the Common land (called the
        Commons) in the villages, which they had needed in order to rear milk cows
        & meat livestock to augment their agricultural produce; by the hated
        “Enclosures Act” (enacted by the same men who were the gentry who profited from
        it & the magistrates who enforced it). This law allowed the rich to seize
        the Commons & enclose it in a fence, & legally prevent the farmers from
        gaining access to it.

        The reason for all of the above? Sure, anti-Gaelic
        racism played a part (in Scotland & Ireland), but the underlying motivation
        was capitalistic greed on the part of the elite, who wanted to make “scientific
        farms” in line with Enlightenment/Improvement thinking, & reap huge
        financial rewards.

         

        Do you know why there was such huge crime waves in England in the
        17-18-19th centuries? All of these disgruntled farmers were
        effectively forced off their land, & in many cases literally so. Many
        turned to crime to survive, many emigrated to the Colonies (many
        involuntarily), many migrated to the industrialising towns, where they relied
        on crafts such as weaving to survive.

        BUT, when inventions such as the “Spinning Jenny”
        were introduced in order to cut labour costs & increase productivity (more
        capitalist terms), these town workers lost their jobs as they were replaced by
        machines, & having NO safety net they were desperate, & very often
        turned to theft & prostitution (or the Army during wartime) in order to
        survive.

         

        Do you know what happened during the Irish famine?

        The English govt exacerbated the Potato Blight
        through its unwillingness to act outside of the bounds set by laissez faire
        capitalism & “providentialism”, & instead of spending the necessary
        money (for fear that it would distort the market) so allowed 1M to die, &
        another 1M to be forced to flee to the USA.

        Of course, racism did play its part, and the UK govt did
        initially help to some extent, but political weakness, division &
        indecisiveness resulted in the Treasury calling the shots, which under
        Trevalyan et al (I think that’s how you spell his name) meant that capitalist
        ideology ruled.

      • Andrew of Mornington

        Part 2

        You said: “Look more closely at
        the rioting in Greece
        and London, and the demonstrations
        that brought down the government in Egypt.
        All happened as a result of decades of socialism. Socialism is great as long as
        the money lasts. The money ran out in those countries and the people responded
        by rioting. Free markets played no role whatsoever in those countries.”

         

        Again, you need to do a
        lot more research:
        The problems in Greece weren’t caused by socialism, but by long-term
        unchecked endemic corruption that’s sucked the lifeblood out of Greece’s state
        & economy – instead of using the money given to it by the EU to build
        infrastructure, foster innovation & industry & build its knowledge
        base, it basically spent it on one long party. Sure, things were great during
        the 1990’s, but now the party’s over & it’s one long hangover. The
        socialism you speak of was the social programmes & etc given to the poor,
        so as to better themselves, but which were effectively a sop to them so they’d
        turn a blind eye to what was going on at the top.

        The people rioting are
        often those who didn’t have their snouts in the trough, but are having to pay
        for those who did (mostly the political classes & their cronies).

         

        Egypt: the Mubarrak govt
        was brought down because of corruption, but also more importantly it was an
        oppressive dictatorship that allowed its people to get educated but then gave
        them no future unless they were part of the ruling party (and knew someone). By
        this year the young people especially had had enough, with massive youth
        unemployment & etc.

        The turning point was Tunisia, which gave hope to poor people in
        oppressive regimes throughout the Middle East –
        most of whom were military or monarchical dictatorships.

         

         Free market played no
        part? Yeah right.

        The middle class have largely
        abandoned their calling to help the weak & poor in the UK (as they had
        done in the 17-19th centuries), & instead have been chasing the
        capitalist dream trying to get rich. This is a reflection of the decline of
        religious belief in the UK,
        where those with wealth increasingly no longer feel the moral impetus to help
        those without.

         Additionally, you had
        free market ideologues in govt since the Thatcher years (such as David Heseltine),
        who gave absolutely no thought to building up their industries in the UK but
        instead ruthlessly tore apart their industrial base in pursuit of “Thatcherite”
        free market ideas & the destruction of Trade Unionism – the result of which
        was the explosion in unemployment & eventual social degradation &
        disorder (accelerated by drugs, alienation and gang culture)

         

        The UK’s example is
        illustrative of a society in decline: mass family breakdown, a moral leadership
        vacuum (from people even in the church) … lasting decades.

        Socialism’s attempts to
        ameliorate the poverty in the UK was only successful in preventing abject
        poverty in most cases, but what was worse was the increasing lack of moral
        leadership in politics (just witness the scandals since 2000) & much worse,
        the Church itself.

         

        This wasn’t socialism but
        corrupt leadership & self-indulgence.

      • Andrew of Mornington

        Part 2

        You said: “Look more closely at
        the rioting in Greece
        and London, and the demonstrations
        that brought down the government in Egypt.
        All happened as a result of decades of socialism. Socialism is great as long as
        the money lasts. The money ran out in those countries and the people responded
        by rioting. Free markets played no role whatsoever in those countries.”

         

        Again, you need to do a
        lot more research:
        The problems in Greece weren’t caused by socialism, but by long-term
        unchecked endemic corruption that’s sucked the lifeblood out of Greece’s state
        & economy – instead of using the money given to it by the EU to build
        infrastructure, foster innovation & industry & build its knowledge
        base, it basically spent it on one long party. Sure, things were great during
        the 1990’s, but now the party’s over & it’s one long hangover. The
        socialism you speak of was the social programmes & etc given to the poor,
        so as to better themselves, but which were effectively a sop to them so they’d
        turn a blind eye to what was going on at the top.

        The people rioting are
        often those who didn’t have their snouts in the trough, but are having to pay
        for those who did (mostly the political classes & their cronies).

         

        Egypt: the Mubarrak govt
        was brought down because of corruption, but also more importantly it was an
        oppressive dictatorship that allowed its people to get educated but then gave
        them no future unless they were part of the ruling party (and knew someone). By
        this year the young people especially had had enough, with massive youth
        unemployment & etc.

        The turning point was Tunisia, which gave hope to poor people in
        oppressive regimes throughout the Middle East –
        most of whom were military or monarchical dictatorships.

         

         Free market played no
        part? Yeah right.

        The middle class have largely
        abandoned their calling to help the weak & poor in the UK (as they had
        done in the 17-19th centuries), & instead have been chasing the
        capitalist dream trying to get rich. This is a reflection of the decline of
        religious belief in the UK,
        where those with wealth increasingly no longer feel the moral impetus to help
        those without.

         Additionally, you had
        free market ideologues in govt since the Thatcher years (such as David Heseltine),
        who gave absolutely no thought to building up their industries in the UK but
        instead ruthlessly tore apart their industrial base in pursuit of “Thatcherite”
        free market ideas & the destruction of Trade Unionism – the result of which
        was the explosion in unemployment & eventual social degradation &
        disorder (accelerated by drugs, alienation and gang culture)

         

        The UK’s example is
        illustrative of a society in decline: mass family breakdown, a moral leadership
        vacuum (from people even in the church) … lasting decades.

        Socialism’s attempts to
        ameliorate the poverty in the UK was only successful in preventing abject
        poverty in most cases, but what was worse was the increasing lack of moral
        leadership in politics (just witness the scandals since 2000) & much worse,
        the Church itself.

         

        This wasn’t socialism but
        corrupt leadership & self-indulgence.