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How Christian conservatives are breeding Bolsheviks

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Earlier this week I asked why conservative Christian outlets are increasingly promoting socialist ideas and policies. Yesterday, my friend Jake Meador weighed in to help provide some perspective on this trend. Jake himself is the editor of an online Christian magazine—Mere Orthodoxy—that would be described as traditionalist conservative. While he is not a socialist, he admits he is somewhat sympathetic to the “emerging leftism” of young Christians, especially those within Catholic and evangelical circles.

I appreciate how Jake has extended and expanded the discussion and wanted to reply as thoughtfully as possible. Because there’s a lot to say, this is the first of two (or maybe three) posts responding to his article, “Young Christians and the Specter of Socialism.”

The Specter in the Bathroom

The specter of socialism isn’t new, of course. Long before it haunted young Christians on the Internet, it was a concern of the business community. In the 1930s, Scot Tissue ran an advertisement asking, “Is Your Bathroom Breeding Bolsheviks?”

Employees lose respect for a company that fails to provide decent facilities for their comfort.

Try wiping your hands six days a week on harsh, cheap paper towels or awkward, unsanitary roller towels — and maybe you, too, would grumble. Towel service is just one of those small, but important courtesies — such as proper air and lighting — that help build up the goodwill of your employees.

Bolsheviks were members of the majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party, which was later renamed the Communist Party. No one knows how many people, whether in Russia or the U.S., became Bolsheviks because of cheap paper towels. But there are plenty of people who are attracted to socialism because they feel they were treated unfairly, whether by businesses or the market economy.

Commenting on the ad, sociologist Gwen Sharp says,

Preventing the spread of communism isn’t, then, just about rooting out ideologues and rabble-rousers. The message is that becoming a Bolshevik may be a response to poor working conditions or treatment by management, and thus employers have a role to play in discouraging it by actually paying attention to potential causes of dissatisfaction and addressing them (in the bathroom, anyway), rather than simply a moral failing or outcome of ideological brain-washing.

This is an important point, and one that is often dismissed by advocates of free enterprise. But as I’ll try to convince you, older conservatives (like me) are at least partially to blame for pushing young Christians toward socialism. Before I make that point, though, let me first engage in a favorite pastime of us oldheads: millenial-bashing!

Did Millenials Get Played by the Free Market?

In his article, Jake identifies two things driving the emerging leftism of young traditionalist Christians. “First, we think, with some reason, that we got played hard by the free market,” he says.

Many white, college-educated millennials (which describes a large majority of the trads) grew up in a context that free-market advocates hail as the closest thing we had to a Golden Age in 20th century America—many of us were born during the Reagan years and grew up during the Clinton administration.

At minimum, we can say that we grew up in a time with dramatically lower tax rates than at any other time in the post-war era and that we saw a level of economic growth which rivaled the 1950s. We think, rightly or wrongly, that we lived through a fairly free market era. And then we went to college. Many of us graduated in or shortly after 2008 and found ourselves chasing after jobs which no longer existed due to the Great Recession and struggling to service the student loan debt we had taken on because we were confident of securing a good job post-college.

We saw—and lived!—what a lack of regulation of banks did to the market. I graduated summa cum laude from a major university in 2010. I did not have a job that paid me a living wage until 2013. For two years after graduation, I worked jobs that paid minimum wage or slightly above that, including a teacher’s aid job at a local public school in which I was assaulted multiple times by students and was once sent home early because I was exhibiting signs of a concussion after being headbutted by a student. And amongst my friend groups, I’m probably one of the luckier ones.

In my next post I’ll address his point about free markets causing the Great Recession. For now, I want to look at the more personal angle of how markets affect the lives of young twentysomething millenials like Jake.

For now, though, I’ll go along with the implied assumption that his generation suffered a form of economic structural injustice. As it relates to economics, structural injustice could be defined as occurring when outside forces unjustly limit some person’s opportunities to enact their morally legitimate plans. Almost all evangelicals—whether liberal or conservative—agree that structural injustices still exist and that they must be opposed. Where we disagree is about what forms of structural injustice are most pervasive and how they should be corrected.

For instance, as a conservative I believe one of the best ways to compensate for structural injustice is to increase order and individual freedom. Also, as an advocate of free markets, I believe markets can help us achieve that objective. Why? Because free markets are, at least in part, information systems designed for virtuous people.

Can You Hear the Market Calling?

Remember those old Western movies where a scout-tracker (usually a Native American) has an uncanny ability to track people using the slightest of clues? Somehow, just by looking at a bent blade of grass or a fragment of a hoof track they can tell not only that the bad guy is headed north, but that he has gout and walks with a limp. The markets are similarly able to process an uncanny amount of information from the smallest of clues.

A market serves as an information system in that it creates, collects, filters, processes, and distributes information about the economic preferences of people within a society. The “market” is simply a summary term for a variety of voluntary exchanges of tangible commodities or nontangible services that are undertaken between two people or between groups of people represented by agents. The information in this particular system allows people to know whether and under what conditions they are willing to engage in the exchange. These exchanges are engaged in because both parties benefit; if they did not expect to gain, they would not agree to the exchange.

To say that a market is a “free market” is to say, in part, that when it functions as an information system (creating, collecting, filtering, processing, and distributing information) it largely does so free of distortions. In other words, we can think of a free market as a market that is free of distortions.

While it is possible to have individual or small markets that are free of distortions (e.g., I trade with you and we are both honest people), when the markets became larger or are aggregated together, it becomes much less possible to prevent distortions from entering the system. As Christians we recognize this is a natural outcome of living in a sinful world. But where liberal and conservative evangelicals tend to disagree is about what mechanisms are necessary or most useful in correcting such distortions when they occur.

Conservative evangelicals tend to believe that, when structured properly, the markets themselves tend to provide their own self-correcting mechanisms. We believe this is typically the preferred form of weeding distortions from a market. However, unlike some other groups (such as Christian anarcho-capitalists) we also recognize there are rare occasions when market distortions can only be corrected by governmental intervention.

While we believe government intervention in markets should be rare and limited, liberal evangelicals tend to prefer that such interventionism is common and as expansive as necessary.

Another disagreement we have is who is to blame for ignoring the information the market is providing us. Conservatives understand that we ignore market signals at our own peril, while those who blame the “free market” for their hardships are often those who ignored what the market was telling them because it interfered with what they wanted to do.

Back to the Future with Jake

Since Jake provided a personal example, I hope he won’t mind if I use his experience to illustrate this point. I think his experience is common enough that it can serve as an archetype for what many people in his generation have gone through.

As Jake’s bio attest, he studied English and History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated in 2010. At the time, a year’s tuition at the school was roughly $6,000 and housing about $10,000 a year. Let’s add another $3,000 a year for books, fees, and misc. expenses. That comes out to be about $76,000 for his college degree, presumably financed mostly by student loans.

Assuming he graduated in four years, he will have started college on or before September 2006. That means Jake was, at the latest, in the first semester of his sophomore year when the Great Recession began in December 2007. By this point in his college career, he probably had about $28,500 in student loan debt.

Let’s go back in time to consider Jake’s fate and future.

The most devastating financial crisis of his life—or even his parent’s life—has just occurred, and he has to make a choice about the direction his life will take next. What signals are being sent to him by the market economy?

First, there is the price tag on his remaining education. If he chooses to stay in school he will be taking on an additional $47,500 in student loan debt. Second, there is the future expected economic value of his choice of major. Right now (2008), He’s planning on majoring in one of the lowest paying subjects—English. After a few minutes on Google he finds that the average starting salary he can expect is $34,000, maybe a bit less if he becomes a teacher in Nebraska (at the time, $30,844). The unemployment rate has just spiked to the highest in five years and the predictions are that it will be much higher by the time he graduates (spoiler: it does, with the national rate almost doubling to 8.4 percent by Graduation Day 2010).

The market is sending clear signals: the demand for English majors is low, and may be even lower by the time he graduates.

Jake has a number of choices, such as: He can delay college, get a job, and avoid taking on additional education debt; he can choose a major that is likely to be in higher demand; or he can move forward with his plan to get a degree in English and hope for the best.

We now know, of course, which path he chose. But even then it was clear that he was choosing a risky option since the market was sending Jake clear signals about the expected outcome of his decision. Not only did he ignore the market’s signal (cut him some slack, he was young) he blames the free market for the hardships he encountered! (This is especially surprising considering he took a job at a public school, an environment not known for being a bastion of free market enterprise.)

Even though the market sent him signals warning him about the path he was choosing, the market also came to his rescue. Yet rather than being ecstatic at his turn of fortune, Jake appears rather ungrateful, as if the market had somehow wronged him. Notice he says, “I did not have a job that paid me a living wage until 2013.”

Is the blame justified? Consider: after choosing one of the lowest paying college majors and deciding to remain in a small state (population of less than 2 million) where 45 percent live in rural areas during the greatest economic downtown in almost a century, Jake was still able to make a living wage within three years of graduation. And this is a reason to complain about the market?

What’s ironic is that Jake and others of his generation decry the moral hazard of the bankers that caused the Great Recession and yet excuse their own embrace of moral hazard.

Millenials Love Moral Hazard

Moral hazard is the lack of incentive to guard against risk where one is protected from its consequences. As we’ve shown, Jake embraced moral hazard by ignoring the obvious risk. Nevertheless, while he suffered for a few years, he was able through his grit, hard work, and intelligence to come out ahead. His story had a (mostly?) happy ending (and I appreciate Jake being a good sport in letting me use him as an example—which I hope he will still be after reading this).

But many other Americans in Jake’s situation will not be so fortunate. They have taken on massive unnecessary risks, most often by choosing to take on a gargantuan debt load to finance a luxury good (i.e., a liberal arts degree, non-professional graduate degree, etc.) before they even have a job that can pay their electric bill.

The terms “privilege” and “entitlement” are thrown around way too much nowadays. But there really are no better words to describe the mindset that believes the free market owes you a job making a living wage simply because you went deep into debt while reading Shakespeare’s plays for four years.

However, I don’t put all the blame on Jake and his peers, though. It is my generation (Gen-X) and the one that came before (the Baby Boomers) who taught them that they can be and do anything they want, that they don’t have to make life choices based on economic concerns, and that if they fail someone else should pay to make them whole. If Millenials have an inflated sense of economic entitlement, we old folks only have ourselves to blame for that.

But even more significantly, we created the structures that set them up for economic failure.

The College Degree as Distorted Market Signal

Let’s use college education as a prime example. Of the 55 million job openings between 2010 and 2020, only about 35 percent will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Even half of those, however, do not really require the education that a college provides. Instead, the degree is used as a signaling device for employers to identify people who have the traits they believe are necessary for success (e.g., intelligence, endurance). It is insane that we have young people taking on $75,000 worth of debt just to get a job earning $30,000 a year.

So why do we have such a bizarre system? In part, because of previous government intervention has distorted the signals that would naturally be sent by the market.

After World War II, the G.I. Bill made it possible for returning veterans to go to college. As happens anytime a third-party pays for a good or service, the demand for college exceeded what would have been the demand if people paid for tuition themselves. Within a few decades, the veterans who had gone to college started making college a requirement to get a good job at their firms. This lead to an increase in the demand for college which led to increased costs for tuition, housing, etc.

Many people began to realize they could not pay the increasing costs, so the government intervened once again with a solution: the government would offer to back low-interest student loans. This reduced the risk for financial businesses to offer the loans to those without much ability to pay them back and increased the moral hazard of students willing to go deep into debt to pursue their passion (or to put off entering the job market for four years).

The result has been that many Americans—at least those of us who would get a liberal arts degree—want to be able to pursue our own peculiar interest, get a piece of paper that testifies to our accomplishments, and to have the job market reward us for our choice. (NB: Here’s an alternative proposal.)

To those deep in debt, it seems especially unfair that the only work their B.A. in Medieval philosophy qualifies them for involves grinding Arabica beans at Starbucks. Since it can’t be their fault (they were merely following their life goals) the free market must be to blame. And since the free market is the problem, they believe some sort of government bailout (i.e., elimination of student loans) or other intervention must be the solution.

Jake is not entirely wrong in thinking his generation “got played hard.” But the blame does not lie with the free market. The blame is on us older Americans who’ve created the conditions that helped to “breed Bolsheviks.”

See also: How government regulation—not free markets—caused the financial crisis

Related: In October the Acton Institute will be sponsoring a conference titled, Toward a Free and Virtuous Society: Marxism a Century after the Bolshevik Revolution.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

Comments

  • Alan D. Atchison

    Our evangelical institutions are filled with Marxist thinking ranging from racial identity politics to nutty ideas of economic “Justice.” Why? Unfortunately, organizations like the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition have encouraged that nonsense and embrace progressives and given them a megaphone to spread their Marxist message. Instead of being unique and separate from the world, millennials have embraced these messages of racial and economic justice because of biblical illiteracy and our institutions are helping them justify it. If you are worried about the economic Marxism, then I’d suggest fight the racial Marxism too.

    • Jeff H ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ comic genius

      Clearly, you know nothing about evangelical Christianity if you believe “evangelical institutions” are filled with Marxist thinking. Go to an actual Christian (Baptist, preferably) church on occasion.

      • Alan D. Atchison

        I know for certain that Marxist racial identity politics is driving too much of the discussion today in evangelical institutions. Did you know Capitol Hill Baptist Church had a Sunday School class on racial identity politics? Yeah, this is a growing problem as progressives exploit the real desire of Baptists and others to overcome racism. However, in my Baptist experience, everyone rejects racism and the only ones reveling in it are the identity politics proponents.

  • Jeff H ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ comic genius

    No actual Christian ever pushes socialist (communist-lite, a third fewer government executions that their regular communism) ideas.

  • Socialism is covetousness, lies, and theft, with murder always just around the corner. It is, in fact, anti-Christian. That simple.

    • BWF

      Some might say the same thing about capitalism. Such is what happens when a person makes an economic system their idol. And while I normally hesitate to use this phrase, it definitely applies here: both sides do it.

  • The Great Recession was caused by a law passed and signed by President Jimmy Carter, later strengthened by Bill Clinton called The Community Reinvestment Act . This spectacularly bad law forced banks to lend to potential homeowners who were previously unable to qualify for a mortgage due to their not making enough money, among other reasons.
    It was this governmental meddling in the formerly free market that caused the recession we still haven’t recovered from.
    If anyone wants to point the finger of blame for their economic ills, they should point it towards Washington DC. The politicians who do their best to restrict and undermine the economy with needless overregulation are the first ones to complain that “the system doesn’t work.” How can it with the boot of the government on its neck? For example, find out just how many pages of regulations were passed in Obama’s last year. The answer will astound you.

  • RhythmicallyPulsingGoo

    Jake should also start looking at the reason college tuition skyrocketed. He may learn that the explanation also has something to do with government intervention and progressive politics, but something tells me he will learn nothing.

  • NoDonkey

    The state is a vengeful and jealous god. Elevate the state to god and there is no room for any other.

  • Frustrated Entreprenuer

    Griggs vs Duke Power is a large reason that a college diploma is needed. It basically did away with testing to see if a person was a good fit.

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    Notice that Aquinas’ instruction below (1200 AD) accurately portrays what was, then, roughly 1000 years’ of Christian teaching. Read the sermons of Chrysostom on poverty (350-400 AD) and you will see exactly the same ideas. What Aquinas teaches is still Catholic teaching today.

    Notice, also, that what people would condemn as “socialism” in Aquinas and Chrysostom is not socialism at all. In fact, the Catholic Church condemns socialism as inherently evil. Now, who here can accept BOTH that Aquinas/Ambrose/Chrystostom are correct AND that socialism is rightly condemned by the Catholic Church?

    That is, do you understand the difference between socialism/communism and Christian charity, as Aquinas describes it here (or as Ambrose and Chrysostom described it elsewhere)? Because, if you don’t understand the difference, you have no business writing about “how Christians are becoming socialists”

    Thomas Aquinas – SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: SECOND PART OF THE SECOND PART
    QUESTION 66

    Article 7. Whether it is lawful to steal through stress of need?

    I answer that, Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man’s needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man’s needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., Article 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals (Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): “It is the hungry man’s bread that you withhold, the naked man’s cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man’s ransom and freedom.”

    Since, however, there are many who are in need, while it is impossible for all to be succored by means of the same thing, each one is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things, so that out of them he may come to the aid of those who are in need. Nevertheless, if the need be so manifest and urgent, that it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means be at hand (for instance when a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy), then it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another’s property, by taking it either openly or secretly: nor is this properly speaking theft or robbery.

    Reply to Objection 1. This decretal considers cases where there is no urgent need.

    Reply to Objection 2. It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need.

    Reply to Objection 3. In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another’s property in order to succor his neighbor in need.

    • Yeah this is as problem for all Christians, not just Catholics because evangelicals also claim the Church Fathers. I have studied the history of church thought on property and come to some conclusions. The early church did not get its teachings on property and commerce from Jewish Christians who were very firm on property and the virtue of commerce. If you study pagan Roman and Greek teachings on property and commerce you find that the teaching of the early church fathers was identical and the opposite of Judaism. That makes sense because in the third century churches began to make bishops of Roman nobility sometimes even before they became Christians. Ambrose is a good example. They didn’t bother to learn the Bible but brought into the church pagan thought on commerce, property and virginity. Then they found proof texts to support their pagan ideas.

      Then by the 16th century the church scholars at the University of Salamanca had managed to distance themselves from pagan thought and derive real Biblical economics. That required the formation of universities that gave the scholars some academic freedom. They distilled the principles of capitalism that Protestant nations employed. Catholic nation chose to stick with the early church fathers.

      Were the early church fathers socialists? Yes, if you consider the New Institutional school of economics. Socialism is nothing less than a return to the ancient, pagan Greek and Roman philosophies. After all, Plato in the “Republic” came up with the first schematic for a socialist state.

  • MereCitizen

    The lack of understanding in this article is astounding. Socialism is embraced by liberal Protestantism, evangelical or not. History screams this. It is extremely erroneous to equate evangelical with conservativism. Large numbers of Evangelicals were not and are not conservative, they were and are liberal. That statement does not mean there are not evangelical conservatives as clearly there are, but to make blanket articles such as this is plain wrong. Born out of European Christian Pietism many streams of Methodistism, even in its earliest days veered into what may be seen as liberalism, the church strongly embraced Progressivism including Eugenics. No one with am understanding of church history would ever see John Wesley as anything if not an Evangelical. The difference is whether a church embraces the Bible or if they embrace man’s feelings over Biblical directives. And not one person looking at the Methodist church cannot fail to see what happens when Pietism overcomes Biblical truths.

  • MarkM

    I’m sorry, but what sort of parent let’s their child major in English without providing them the appropriate warnings regarding their potential job prospects thereafter? Unless you are very careful in your non-major courses, he was asking for that job at starbucks (or in education). Assuming he was at a University and had the ability to take a certain number of courses in other departments, what additional courses should he have made sure to take? My recommended list would include:
    1. Calculus (up to whatever level is sufficient to meet prerequisites for the good course in Probability & Statistics)
    2. Probability & Statistics (the kind for which some level of Calculus is a prerequisite)
    3. Accounting I / Intro. to Financial Accounting
    4. Finance I and/or survey course in Finance (must cover DCF)
    5. Some class in programming – where you actually write real code
    6. Economics I (Micro-economics)
    With that set of additional courses plus any level of work experience during school (summers, during the year, etc.), he would be in a better position when it came time to look for that first full time job.

    Bottom line – the world doesn’t owe you anything. Teaching your children to follow their passion and not think the consequences through does both you and your children a disservice.

  • Alan Grey

    Interesting article Joe. I think you have definitely hit a perception from millenials on the head. I don’t think the perception is very accurate, and in some ways I would agree with Rod Dreher that the culture is basically lost due to the prevalence of government education (I emerged from high school significantly socialist), mass media and news media all promoting the standard socialist/marxist lies that every problem with society is due to free market capitalism and not enough government socialism. The latest big recession, as a commentator here has already noted, was started by government forcing banks to make bad loans in the 1970s. There are many more examples of how socialism causes harms and then blames capitalism. Socialism, everywhere it has been practiced, actually increases inequality (How rich is Hugo Chavez’ daughter?), but it blames rising inequality on capitalism (Piketty anyone?).

    Or as another example that was used in a discussion with me, the North Ireland ‘catholic/protestant’ conflict. The IRA was Marxist (except for the period near the start of WWII where it was national socialist). The conflict was, like almost every other significant conflict in the 20th century, fanned into being by socialists. Yet our schools, universities, media and hollywood either ignore or tell us the complete opposite.

    But what is the solution? How do we counteract the gross ignorance, entitlement and blame shifting?

  • Vizzini

    The base assumption about the need for Christians to fight “structural injustice” at all strikes me as profoundly un-Christian. Our kingdom is not of this world, and the examples of the lives of Christ and his apostles is that they did not lead lives of “social justice”, political or economic activism. Christians who become entangled in the systems of the world are trying to build heaven on Earth — a profoundly arrogant task, and one which the Bible assures us is never going to happen.

    I cannot say that I myself am successful in keeping myself divorced from politics, but I recognize that to the degree I am, it is in opposition to my Christianity, not an expression of it.

  • Ewin Barnett

    Christians must be familiar with the Ten Commandments. Jesus said many times and in many ways that anyone who follows Him must obey them. This is cemented by Jesus through John in Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints. Here are the ones who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

    Two of the Ten Commandments directly touch on private property, the one that forbids theft and the one that forbids coveting. One of the Ten tells us that we must live our lives honestly. When people obey these Commandments, the only economic system that follows is the free market, that is to say private capital and private business. In other words, capitalism.

    Socialism is the belief that society will be better in every way that counts when we each live at the expense of everyone else. The only way to do this is through government compulsion and the implied threat of deadly force. This cannot be peaceful and voluntary. Indeed whenever it is tried in nations, it only results in a decline of prosperity and a destruction of personal freedom. No socialist society is better off than one based on capitalism. In the last century, socialism cost over 100 million lives. North Korea is a hell-hole because it is a socialist nation.

    Socialism is built upon the destruction of three of the Ten Commandments: coveting, theft and lies.

    Christianity teaches that everyone will be judged by what is written in the books of the Bible. (see Revelation 20:12). One of those books is Ephesians which was written by Paul as an instruction to the church in that town. In chapter 5 verse 5, Paul writes something that should be sobering to Christians today because it directly instructs them on two areas of current focus by Progressives.

    Paul says that no person who practices sexual immorality and no person who is covetous can attain eternal life. This is the weight of the words in 5:5

    “For you know this, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (who is an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

    How do young adults today who are cohabiting and who vote in favor of socialism relate to this explicit teaching? Anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ is denying Him when they advocate and support the redistribution of the wealth of others.

  • Marty Johnson

    I think the author is full of it. I couldn’t finish reading his drivel. I don’t blame the parents, I blame higher education. Leftists infest our universities, and make it “un-cool” to be a conservative. Young otherwise intelligent and well-brought up kids don’t want to be shunned so they go along to get along. Simplistic, sure, but true, you betcha.

    • Actually, research shows that college rarely changes students political or economic ideas. Students get those from their parents and seek confirmation in college while ignoring conflicting information.

  • I began my search for the origins of capitalism in the 1990s after reading a decade of articles from Christianity Today promoting pure Marxism.

    The source and power of socialism is envy. All other excuses are just ways to justify envy. Evangelicals can be just as envious as anyone.

    At the same time, the socialist media has convinced everyone that the US is a free market capitalist nation when it fact it is very socialist. Socialists have always blamed any problem on capitalism. It has been their MO for 200 years. But in the 1980s when I began studying economics the consensus was that the US was a mixed economy at best. It has become far more socialist since then but the media and historians have succeeded in labeling it capitalist. Even defenders of free markets have fallen for that nonsense. The first step to helping Christians is to demonstrate that the US is a socialist country and has been for about a century. For starters, ask them how many points of Marx’s Communist Manifesto has the US implemented. The answer is about 9 of 10.

    Evangelicals have been suckers for the fallacy of comparing reality with utopia. First socialists lie and claim that the US is capitalist. Then they point out how awful things are and how much better socialism would make things, the utopia. It’s actually embarrassing that people are so gullible as to fall for such an obvious trick. Honest people would compare the US with actual socialist countries, such as the USSR, China under communism, etc., or the democratic socialists of Europe.

    But the real issue is envy. Once people succumb to envy they will be suckers for all kinds of nonsense and can rationalize any action to appease it.

  • Joe DeVet

    This old conservative (rather older than Joe Carter) is gonna plead “not guilty.” I didn’t make millenials stupid. I did not give them a sense of entitlement, which moved them to think they could succeed by dropping, say $200k, into a degree in women’s studies. I did not vote for the government leaders (nor contribute in any other way) who caused higher education to be one of the highest-inflation industries in the land. I did not contribute to the demise of public secondary education, by which, for about 5 times what it cost our community to educate me, we would move any and all students through regardless of achievement or comportment, and graduate functional illiterates by the millions. I worked against, rather than promoting, the loss of consensus on what an education means, what personal responsibility means, what moral virtue and common decency and manners should look like–all the societal mores which are necessary if a public education system is to function at all. I did not encourage our 20-somethings to immediately expect a house and a car, etc, of the size and quality it took my generation into their 40’s and beyond to earn.

    Not guilty.