The Pope and the Bailout

"Repent!" says the Pope - more or less. Pope Benedict XVI has chastised Western culture for being too oriented towards money and material wealth. He's right, of course.

In the United States, people worship the free market. As if throngs of self-seeking, short-sighted people have the divine in their brokerage accounts and wallets.

Our tendency is to worship the Invisible Hand of the marketplace. Whose hand, by the way? G-d's, of course. And G-d's Invisible Hand is guiding America's success in the world and our natural dominance over others, right?. So if they resist, they are resisting the work of G-d. This logic plays into our Puritan ethos.

There's always been this theme running throughout American discourse on free markets: that G-d works in free market forces. These would be the same free market forces that brought us slavery and prostitution, by the way.

Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that the marketplace is a man-made creation, and is no more superior to man than our SUVs are. Let's try to live that way for a while. It would make universal health care and free higher education more of a right and less of a privilege. Hey, we're Socialists now, why not?

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