Lesson 09- Platos Republic, a Challenge of Freedom
This is the tenth program on my historical analysis of the present collapse of our economy. We have seen in recent history the collapse of two great economic theories, Communism and Capitalism, who were contending for the hearts and the minds of men. Each promised to lead us to the Promised Land and each eventually failed in their attempt. It wasn’t because they didn’t have some element of truth in their systems that dealt with and satisfied some of our basic needs. Rather, it was because they each possessed only one half of the puzzle that has confounded human beings throughout the centuries. What do we really want? Order or freedom?
Philosophers, like Plato, thought that these seemingly conflicting needs led to an eternal cycle in which, through stages, governments moved from the order and central control of dictatorship towards the freedom and lack of control of democracy and back to dictatorship. It seemed as though we couldn’t find the right balance between these two contending needs. Dictatorship led to order without freedom and democracy led to freedom without order. Will Durant, an historian, expressed the same view when he observed, after writing a multi-volume history of the world, that “when freedom destroys order, the need for order will destroy freedom.” In essence he was saying that our need for order was more basic and essential than our need for freedom and if one had to be sacrificed it would always be freedom. So to Patrick Henry’s famous declaration, “Give me liberty or give me death”, both Plato and Durant would smile and say “You don’t understand yourself or your fellow humans because liberty or freedom is always a “means” to an end, never an end in itself.”
Like the Thesis in the Hegelian Dialectic, which represents Order and Stability, containing all the interconnected patterns that form our paradigm of reality that give us security and the Antithesis, which represent Freedom and Change, containing new ideas and insights that can be either progressive or regressive, the aim is always towards the Synthesis in which the new is combined with the old to form a new Thesis that restores and restabilizes our vision of the world. Thus new ideas and situations are always threatening to destabilize our theory of reality and we are always struggling to reorder it by blocking or synthesizing whatever is upsetting our order system. Like the body’s attempt to restore homeostasis whenever it biological order is threaten, the mind attempts to do the same.
We might say that the Thesis is the Conservative Principle, which is like Newton’s First Law of Motion says, “A body at rest, will remain at rest until it is acted upon by an outside force.” In other words, it is the role of the Conservative Thesis to defend the “status quo” or “what is” and, like a circle, it keeps repeating the same answers over and over again. On the other hand, the Antithesis is the Liberal Principle, which is like Newton’s Second Law of Motion that says, “A body in motion will remain in motion until it meets an opposing force, and its role is to change or develop the Thesis by assuming a linear or progressive view. Thus, the Conservative Principle, because it will never move, leads to stagnation and the Liberal Principle, because it will never stop pushing for change, leads to chaos and confusion. However, if, as Hegel observed, the Truth is a “union of opposites” then it is the Synthesis, which is the Moderate Principle, that maintains the tension and balance between the two and is then transformed into the new Thesis. This being the case, we could observe that “Today’s Liberals are tomorrow’s Conservatives” because once the Liberals gain access into the Thesis they immediately begin to oppose any change. Notice how quickly the “freedom fighters” of the liberal movements of the 1960’s who demanded the right to be free became the agents and enforcers of “political correctness” in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Now that they were part of the New Order they opposed any attempt to change or modify it even if it meant deny others the right to freely criticize it. The end is always “order” and “freedom” is merely a “means” for reordering, never and “end” in itself.
Thus, when the Antithesis, becomes a destructive rather than a constructive critic of the Thesis though revolutionary rather than evolutionary means, it ultimately destroys itself through the counter-forces it creates that seek to reestablish order. Compare, for example, the American Revolution of 1776, that was more evolutionary than revolutionary, with the French Revolution of 1789 that attempted to revolutionize the entire social fabric. The first resulted in a democratic republic while the second ended in a “Reign of Terror” that resulted in Napoleon becoming an emperor which dictatorial powers to restore order. For as Durant observed, “When freedom destroys order the need for order will destroy freedom.”
So today we again are watching the eternal historical battle between the “forces of order” and the “forces of freedom” as Communism and Capitalism, totalitarianism and democracy battle for the hearts and minds of men. According to us, Communism represents the Evil Empire that would enslave the world while we represent the “forces of freedom” that will free the world. And, in recent history, we have been willing to fight wars and spend trillions of dollars to not only defend freedom but to intervene in other countries to help them to establish it. Yet, according to our analysis, people really don’t want to be free if it leads to the insecurity caused by chaos and confusion. Obviously we need to better understand freedom and what role it plays in human survival.
We might observe, as a starting point, that we need order to survive and freedom to develop and thus we could paraphrase Will Durant’s observation as, “When development, which results from freedom, destroys survival, which results from order, the need for survival will destroy development.” Thus, when the Roman Empire collapsed, Europe went through a period known as the Dark Ages where survival took precedent over development.
Everyone is talking about freedom as though it was the one thing that we couldn’t live without, but from different perspectives. The Capitalists are talking about economic freedom. Democracy is talking about political freedom. Communism is talking about freedom from class oppression, the Church is talking about spiritual freedom, and the Secular Humanistic forces in this country have enshrined it through the word “CHOICE!” as though choosing was all that mattered independent of what you chose. In today’s world if you want to defeat an opponent get “freedom” and “equality” on your side and you automatically win because since CHOICE is what matters, and all CHOICES are equal in a subjective world without objective standards, then who’s to say that any CHOICE is better than any other.
In “Plato’s Republic” Socrates and others debated the nature of justice and government and conclude that next to tyranny, democracy is the worst form of government because the ignorant masses, who are often incapable of running their own lives, are certainly incapable of running the affairs of state. Government, as I have defined it in previous programs, “ is a social institution created by the logical, left hemisphere of the brain, for the purpose of making, judging and enforcing laws that are necessary for social order and justice.” That is its purpose and that is the standard by which it is to be measured whether it be a dictatorship, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy etc… The only significant difference between one form of government and another is “who has the power to carry out the purpose and function of government.” It can be a king, a dictator, a nobility class, an oligarchy, or the people themselves but they all must be judged by the same standard. In other words, all good governments make, judge, and enforce laws that “establish social order and justice” or else they fail in their purpose. Thus, one cannot state before investigation that one form of government is necessarily better than another until they both have been measured against the purpose of a government. It is quite possible for an enlightened dictator to “establish social order and justice” better than an unenlightened democracy. However, according to Plato’s Republic, all governments eventually fail because of the practice of “nepotism”, which is the appointment of incompetent relatives by those in control to important positions in the state.
Thus, within the Republic, an outline is proposed for a form a government or state that would eliminate the problems of previous forms and lead to a just society that is led by its most enlightened members.
This form has come to be known as a “republic” and it is the form that was adopted by the U.S, the Soviet Union, Communist China and many other nations that overthrew kings, or czars, or emperors in modern times. But you might say, “How can both the U.S., which is democratic, have the same form of government as the Soviet Union and Communist China, who are non-democratic. To understand this we have to define what a Republic is by modifying my previous definition of government. “A Republic is a form of government created by the left hemisphere of the brain in which representatives of the people make, judge, and enforce laws that are necessary for social order and justice.” The difference between our form of republican government and those of the Communist nations is how those representatives are chosen. In a democratic republic the people freely choose their representatives from among competing candidates. In other types, the representative can be chosen by a different process. For example, let’s look at the broad outline of the republican form of government suggested in Plato’s Republic which has been called by some a Meritocracy because everybody’s position in it is determined by their merit.
First of all, to combat “nepotism”, the destroyer of all good governments, all children will be removed from their parents at birth and raised by the state so that no one will know who their relatives are.
Second, the children will be placed in a state run educational program, signified by a triangle, in which each one will rise only as high as his/her merits will take them. They all begin at the base of the triangle but as each reaches his or her full potential they drop out to perform those tasks in society that are equal to their talents.
Third, they will be educated according to a educational development plan that will begin with music for everyone and end with philosophy for those who survive the lower levels.
Fourth, they will begin with music because, according to the Greeks, all music contains a spirit, that could be wild, loving, peaceful, sinister, etc…, that invades and trains their souls.
Fifth, this will be followed by gymnastics which trains their bodies.
Sixth, after this they will be taught skills, such as reading, writing, and math, that prepares them for assuming some role in the social body. As each one reaches his or her’s level of competency, they drop out of the system and assume their place in the social body and the number left grows increasingly smaller.
Seventh, those few that pass through the lower levels to reach the top of the triangle are destined to become philosopher/kings whose job it will be to represent the best interests of those below. They will be prohibited from marrying or owning property and, after spending fifteen years with the common people to become aware of their needs, they will study philosophy, which is the pursuit of Wisdom, to gain the wisdom to know how to rule wisely. Once again, let me remind you, that the pursuit of the Wisdom, from a Christian perspective is the pursuit of Jesus, the Wisdom of God.
Thus, in Plato’s Republic the representatives of the people have not been elected democratically by them. Rather, they have been selected through a competitive educational process based on merit and talent. And this, by the way, was the vision behind most of the republics that replaced the monarchs of Europe. These early republics were not intended to be democratic. Rather, in most cases, they were intended to give power to an elite, educated class, who because of their superior education, knowledge, and training were best qualified to make decisions for the best interests of the state. In the U.S, Alexander Hamilton voiced this attitude when he said that the country should be ruled by the “rich, the wise, and the good” and the assumption was that if you were “rich”, the other two naturally followed.
Thus, if one reads carefully the original Constitution, he will discovered that it was not their intent to create a democratic republic since the President was elected by an Electoral College composed of men appointed by the states who were assumed to be “rich, wise, and good.” In the Senate, the Senators were appointed by state governments as ambassadors to the new created federal government because they too were assumed to be “rich, wise and good” while in the House of Representatives, they were voted for only by the people in the states who, owning property, were also “rich, wise, and good.” The Supreme Court and federal judges were not elected either. They were appointed by the President to serve for life with the “assent and approval” of the Senate. The idea of the common man participating in the election of his representatives is something that evolved later on through the efforts of presidents like Jefferson and Jackson and Constitutional Amendments like the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Amendments that prevented discrimination in voting and provided for the direct election of Senators respectively.
Communist nations, like Russia and China, who call themselves democratic republics, pay lip service to the idea of democracy by holding elections involving one party, the Communist Party. Therefore, you can choose between a Communist or a Communist.
And, in fairness, I should point out that the Catholic Church is not a democracy and was never intended to be one. In fact, the Church comes very close to being a living example of Plato’s Republic. The bishops and cardinals of the Church, especially in past centuries, before universal, free public education became common, represented the most highly educated people. In fact, entering the Church was one of the best paths to an education. And since a true religious vocation is a call to serve God, who is Goodness Itself, and they were trained in philosophy, which is the pursuit of Wisdom, they should have been both good and wise. And, since they did not marry and theoretically were expected to be limited in their worldly possessions, they were free to spend their lives as shepherds representing the interests of their flocks. Those that did were truly what “The Republic” meant by philosopher kings. Those that didn’t were “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who betrayed God and the Church by “fleecing the sheep” for their own benefit instead of serving them as Christ had commanded. Such are the flaws when good theories move from the drawing board to reality and pass through the corrupted hearts of men.
So what is wrong with The Republic’s idea of having philosopher/kings who are “good and wise” represent the best interests of the people who, because of their ignorance, don’t even know what is best for themselves? Well, there are at least two objections. First, from a Christian perspective, God calls everyone to follow Jesus, who is Divine Wisdom, and He yearns for the day when His laws and rules, which are merely the expression of His Wisdom, will not have to be taught but, rather, will be written on the hearts of everyone. In other words, He yearns to save everyone by leading them out of the Kingdom of Mental Darkness, the Gehenna or hell of the Old Testament, into the Kingdom of Mental Light that is ruled by Jesus, the Wisdom of God, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. In fact, Divine Wisdom is the only way out of the Mental Darkness of Gehenna for without it we are close to being mere animals ruled by our blind passions and instincts. By limiting Wisdom to a select few philosopher kings, Plato’s Republic short-circuits God’s plan for the salvation of the human race because it provides for our physical needs while undermining our spiritual need to grow in ”Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.
As Jesus warned, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that come forth from the mouth of God.” And what is every word that comes forth from the mouth of God? Whenever God speaks, He speaks “Wisdom” which is the Logos or Logic that He used to create the universe and upon which its natural laws are based. And how did the ancient Hebrew refer to Wisdom? They said it was the “Bread of Life” that fed the spirit and led to eternal life. And what did Jesus claim to be? He said, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me shall not hunger. He who believes in me shall not thirst… and unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood you shall not have life within you… And I will raise you up on the last day.” So we should be wary of people and systems that promise us the “Bread of Earth” while denying us the “Bread of Life”.
Need I say more? The decision to follow Wisdom leads to integration and life, which occurs whenever we interact with what is true and higher, and the failure to follow Wisdom, which occurs whenever we interact with what is false and lower, leads to disintegration and death. And as Moses said, “Today I put before you life and death…choose life!”
Are we listening? Are we beginning to understand why everything is falling apart? Are we ready to repent and reform? Or will we die because of our proud “hard hearts” and love of ignorance. St. John asked the question, “Why does God condemn Man?” And he answers his own question by saying, “Because the Light (of Understanding) came into the world, and Men loved Darkness (or Ignorance). This is the time to humble ourselves by recognizing that we are not the Masters of the Universe and that many so-called experts have been “false shepherds” who have led us down the paths of destruction.
It’s time to get back to basic by rethinking our pass actions and correcting the false premises upon which they were based. The time has come for all of us to grow up by putting aside our obsession with amusement, which means “without thought”, and dedicating ourselves to dealing with the real issues of life and that is why I am making the effort to increase your knowledge and understanding of “where we were”, “how we got to where we are”; and where we should be going.” Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” He was merely reflecting the same sentiments of Edmund Burke who said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing.”
I can’t promise that I have all of the right answers to the question of “where we should be going?”, but I can certainly give you “food for thought.” So put down that beer; turn off that sit-com; put down that Walkman; stop reading that pulp magazine and admiring or trying to imitate those entertainment icons whose own lives are disasters. In other words, stop listening to the purveyor of intellectual fluff and let’s get serious. “Crunch time” is here and we can’t afford to miss the great opportunity that God has placed before us to rebuild the world so that His Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.” The world is about to be reorganized and if we don’t push for our own vision we, and our children, will end up living in someone else’s vision.
When we were children we needed parents to control and lead us. And when we were ignorant and uneducated we needed wise leaders to control and lead us. But these were meant to be temporary conditions because, sooner or later, we, and the whole human race, had to grow up and assume responsibility for our own lives because true freedom is “self control” rather than “no control”. This does not mean that we will reject the guidance or rules of the parents and wise leaders who directed us when we were immature. No, if they were truly wise and good we will continue to follow their directives. The only difference will be that we will internalize and “take ownership” of them through the rational acceptance of their wisdom. Then, instead of seeing them as oppressive directives from the outside, we will see them as freely accepted internalized principles for wise living. The day we decide to follow Wisdom will be the day that we will decide to follow Jesus.
This, by the way, was the vision of Thomas Jefferson who believed that the masses didn’t have to remain asses if they were given an opportunity to be educated. He envisioned a society in which, because the common people possessed wisdom, there would be no reason for a paternalistic government to expand it power to rule over their lives. In other words, “the government that governed least, governed the best.” The size and extent of parental or governmental power is directly related to the immaturity of the child or of the people. And, if our current economics crises proves anything it is that we, as a people, have been very immature and unwise and we are about to pay the price by surrendering our responsibilities to government agencies as the problems seem too large for us to handles ourselves.
It appears that the Greeks were right when they made democracy, next to tyranny, the worst form of government, because when democracy fails, tyranny is the next step. And it appears that democracy has failed on two levels in our society: the political and the economic.
The reason it has failed on the political level is because we have allowed our politicians to be elected on the absurd promise to tax us less and give us more. Only a person with a child’s understanding could believe that. As the saying goes, “In America, or for that matter anywhere else, there is no such thing as a free lunch.” The money had to come from somewhere and we are now discovering that they have been raiding the Social Security Trust Fund and borrowing so heavily from countries, such as China, that our survival is now tied into their willingness to lend. Adults who live in the real world should have known this. Only children who live in a fantasy world could believe that you can get something for nothing.
As I mentioned before, Capitalism, even more than our government, is the largest direct democracy in the world because it allows anyone who controls money through the purchase of goods and services to direct how the “means of production” will be used to produce the goods and services that a society needs and wants. How and on what we spend our money is a veritable mirror of our nation’s soul and the image is not very flattering.
To illustrate the power and effect of this to my high school students, I would take out a twenty dollar bill and pretend that I am about to make a purchase, which as we should all know is how we vote in our economic democracy. The scene would unfold as follows:
“What’s that? Michael Jackson has a new video! What’s it called? “Bad” He does what? He grabs himself where? Oh, man, I’ve got to see that! How much? Twenty bucks… It’s worth it. Give me one!” Then I proceed to pretend that as I am leaving the store, a clergyman from my church approaches me asking for donations to help feed starving children in the Third World. “What that? Starving children where? Oh, Africa, Asia, South American. Yeah, I’ll make a donation. Here’s a quarter.”
The point that I am making with my students is that Capitalism, which is an amoral system that has no guiding rationale except the making of profit, will accurately reflect the moral values, or lack of them, of the consumers. What I have just told the economy through the dispensing of my money is that Michael Jackson should get a $20 share of the raw materials, workers, investment or tools, and managerial skills, while those involving in feed starving children should get a $.25 cent share. As a result, Jackson Enterprises will go “first class” in every area, while those feeding the starving children will have to be satisfied with volunteers, second rate equipment and accommodations, and contributions. But what is even more significant is that a value judgment has just been registered, often without any awareness by the persons making it because they don’t understand or care about the impact of their economic choices. However, if they every did they might be shocked to discover what we, as a country, spend on alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, entertainment, cosmetics, toys, etc… in comparison to what we spend on essential social needs or the needs of others.
In this we see the flaw that Plato’s Republic saw in democracy, that is, the uneducated masses will always put their own private wants above the social needs of the society and, to the extent that political and economic leaders are beholden to them for their jobs or profit, they will influence the direction of the society in a negative way.
However, the other side of the coin is also true. If the masses were educated and mature, they could bring about the opposite results. So what happens depends on the quality of the people themselves. And that is the role that Christians, and other people of good will, are called to play. They are suppose to be “the salt of the earth” whose job it is to preserve what is good. But, as Jesus said, if salt should lose its power then what good is it except to be thrown away. Looking at our present conditions, it appears that either there isn’t too much salt out there or much of it has lost its power to prevent the corruption of society.
And that is challenge that we face now. Will we, the people, finally accept responsibility for our action by repenting and reforming of our own contribution to the situation or will we allow our political leaders to excuse us as ignorant children who didn’t know any better by placing the blame on others and promising, like benevolent parents, to take care of the problem themselves if we will only give them the power? Experience has shown that power has a corrupting influence on the humans who possess it and absolute power has the ability to corrupt absolutely. Like the Hebrews in the desert we have to decide whether to march forward to the freedom of the Promised Land or to return to the slavery of Egypt. Well, I see that my time is up.
Thus, we have a dialectical dilemma because we have two conflicting needs. The creative artistic right lobe wants freedom to follow its creative impulses and the logical, legalistic left lobe wants the structure and order that is necessary for social living. When the right lobe and its quest for freedom goes too far, it results in chaos. When the left lobe and its quest for order goes too far it results in dictatorship. In fact, the root for the word “dictator” is the same as the one for “dictation”, which means ‘to speak” and it is the left lobe of the brain which is the source of language, law, and structure.
Thus, the freedom of “no control” is a false and self-defeating freedom because it leads to the “chaos” that results in a “self imposed” dictatorship in which we turn over the responsibility for our lives to someone else. Therefore, the only type of freedom that is compatible with our total nature is the self-control that results from moral maturity, rather than the enforced control that comes from totalitarian systems, such as Communism. Thus, the “other control”, which is necessary in childhood and chaotic conditions, should be only a passing phase on our way to real freedom and self-determination. Well I see that my time is up and I will return to this topic next week.
Unfortunately, this was not always clearly understood by those who directed the Church and instead of being “leaven in the dough” working towards the ultimate responsible freedom of everyone, some church leaders thought that their job was to support the “status quo” under the banner of “law and order.” I have already made reference to this concerning the situations which brought on the French Revolution where the Church became identified with the existing system and the conditions in some Latin American countries where Communism has flourished because the Church leaders became too identified with the ruling class and forgot their role as “Gentle Revolutionaries” who were obligated to remind the well-off members of their flock of their obligation to be concerned with the issue of “social justice”, especially as it pertained to their less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, whenever the Church has been true to its calling, it has been a champion for the freedom and dignity of every person and, whenever it has failed to do this, it has strayed from the path that Christ set for it. And that is why, the Church, like other dynamic systems, has a history of adjustment and readjustment through a dialectical process. Sometimes it was “too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly good” and, at other times, “it was too worldly-minded to be of any heavenly good.” It was at its best when “it prayed like everything depended on God and worked like everything depended on it.”
Its history is one of “repentance and reform” as God inspired saints of different temperament to address the excesses of the times and to set it on the right path by bring it back into balance. Thus, its over-all thrust has always been towards the ultimate freedom of every person through the recognition of his basic dignity as a being “made in the image and likeness of God.” And since Jesus had come to “set us free”, freedom was the ultimate goal of salvation.
So now we seem to be at the crossroads of one of those critical times in history where the existing systems are falling apart: first Communism in the Soviet Union and now Capitalism in the West. Where we go from here depends on how well we understand the root defects in these failing systems and what corrective measures are necessary which allow us to keep what was good in both systems while correcting what was not. And that is the ultimate goal of these talks. Let’s begin by pointing out the positive and negative aspects of Communism and Capitalism by separating what we, as Christians, can accept or reject.
Wise words from a very wise man.
'Do not pretend that things will change, we always do the same. The crisis
is the best blessing that can happen to people and countries, because the
crisis brings progress. Creativity is born of anxiety as the day is born of
the dark night. It is during the crisis that inventive discoveries and major
strategies flourish. Who overcomes the crisis, overcomes himself without
Who attributed their failures to the crisis and hardship, is "violating" its
own talent and respects more the problems than solutions. The real crisis is
the crisis of incompetence. The disadvantage of the people and countries is
the laziness to find the exits and solutions. There is no crisis without
challenges, without challenges life is a routine, a slow death. There is no
crisis without merit. In the crisis the best of each comes out. To talk of
crisis is to promote it and to silence in the crisis is to exalt conformism.
Instead, we should work hard. Let's finish once and forever with the only
looming crisis, the tragedy of not wanting to fight to overcome it.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
The Church, as in most cases, finds itself sitting midway between two opposing positions. There are things about Communism that it can accept and there are other things that it must reject. For example, it can accept many of the social justice issues that the Communists support but it can never accept its atheistic and anti-religious attitudes and its commitment to the violent overthrow of existing system through any pragmatic means including lying, murder, and terrorism. Nor can it accept the elimination of “private property” and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the leaders of a super-welfare state where the rights of the individual are subjugated to the agenda of the state.
However, its attitude towards Capitalism is the same. Because Capitalism is based on competition and the laws of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest, it is part of Natural Law. In other words, the competition in nature that results in natural balances is part of the Divine Plan and a reflection of Divine Wisdom. Thus, winners have a natural right to what they win and losers must accept the consequences of their losing ways. Thus, as a defender of Natural Law, the Church is philosophically committed to the individuals right to private property. Yet, at the same time, the Church recognizes that this system was designed for arational beings who lacked the ability of rational thought and it is too harsh for rational beings who can accomplish the same results through less harsh means. Thus, without eliminating the individuals right to keep what he has earned, it encourages him to freely share what he has earned with those who are less fortunate through charitable efforts. At the same time, it reminds its members that part of the Gospel message includes a demand for “social justice” by reminding both employers and employees that they both have moral obligations towards each other.
Another feature that the Church finds attractive about Capitalism is that it is a free system that keeps power and wealth decentralized by distributing them among many competing groups, which, like nature, leads to a “balance of power.” Thus Capitalism is based on the Principle of Subsidiarity which says that the smallest group in society that is capable of handling a problem should take responsibility for it. The shoemaker should take the responsibility for making shoes, not the government.
There are still many idealistic people who believe that the theory of Communism or Socialism is the answer to all of our problems and this is because they are able to contrast it with the problems of Capitalism. They can point to the problems of unemployment, the unequal distribution of wealth, the environmental impact of industry, the wasteful use of natural resources, and a host of other problems that always plague any operating system because there never was any system that didn’t bring disadvantages along with its advantages. And that is why linear minded societies are always dealing with reforms aimed at correcting the disadvantages.
Thus, every dynamic system requires constant vigilance to keep it true to its original vision. And every system involves some types of trade-off and the best that we can get is a system that bestows more advantages than disadvantages. Therefore, to say that any operating system contains problems is an oxymoron because operating systems always contain problems.
Thus, Capitalism has its problems and so does Communism and, as Christians, we make a big mistake when, in opposing one system, such as Communism because its atheistic view is totally incompatible with ours, we fail to recognize the flaws in another system, such as Capitalism, that we are defending because it pays lip-service to God. In fact, as Christians, we make a big mistake when we bring any political or economic system completely under the umbrella of our belief system when in reality our belief system, which seeks goals beyond the natural level, supercedes all natural systems.
Some Christian evangelist, in their opposition to atheistic Communism, sometimes speak as though the economic theory of Capitalism was part of the Ten Commandments that Moses received on Mount Sinai or the Beatitudes that Jesus delivered in His Sermon on the Mount. Christianity stands above both Capitalism and Communism and is willing to accept and incorporate those parts of both systems that are compatible with its own aims. It likes the freedom and competition of Capitalism, because it reflects the laws of nature, while, at the same time, it supports the order and cooperation of Communism, because it reflects our rational nature. However, too much freedom leads to chaos, and too much order leads to a dictatorial stagnation.