The fight over the latest spending package is raging. Democrats are intent upon plowing yet another $2 trillion into their special projects. They are ready to tax and borrow their way to the future to get it done.
Many Americans who struggle to make ends meet don’t understand why the government is spending money it does not have. With inflation already high and unemployment very low, they fail to see the logic behind the bill.
The logic behind the spending bill is simple but faulty. The New York Times’ David Brooks summarizes the reasoning. He says: “We had become a country dividing into two nations, one highly educated and affluent and the other left behind. The economic gaps further inflamed cultural and social gaps, creating an atmosphere of intense polarization, cultural hostility, alienation, bitterness and resentment.”
The left’s solution is also simple yet faulty. Turbo-charge the economy with “infrastructure” dollars, green new deal pork and government programs. The money will fill the gap and make the polarization and all other evils go away. While the monstrous bill contains other toxic components, its promoters market it from this economic perspective.
Seeing the World Through an Economic Prism
To understand why the reasoning behind the legislation is faulty, one must see that it expresses a worldview. Those promoting this bill see the world primarily through an economic prism. Their analysis holds that economic inequalities can explain all problems. Society can be neatly divided between those who have money and those who don’t. A lack of money necessarily leaves people in a state of oppression, resentment and polarization. Social structures that cause inequality must be uprooted and replaced with those that don’t.
The proposed solution sends a clear message. Money will buy happiness. Money, free money, will solve all problems of resentment. Money garnered by higher taxes on the rich will buy prosperity. Money, lots and lots of it, will smother all inequality. Spend boldly. Spend quickly. Spend uninhibitedly. Don’t worry about the details; everything will turn out well in the end.
This is the Democrat’s worldview so well described by David Brooks.
Economics Is not the Most Important Prism
It is also the Marxist worldview.
Marx saw everything through the economic prism, and his dialectic materialism taught that history is defined by the class struggle between the haves and have-nots. All problems can be reduced to economic structures that government must change to promote equality. Systemic change will take from the rich and give to the poor.
The Marxist worldview is wrong.
While a valuable tool, economics is not the most important prism. It does not determine happiness or solve all problems. To insist that only these things matter is to reduce humans to the level of animal instincts.
The problem with Brooks’s Marxist interpretation of the spending bill is its focus on material means and its denial of a higher reality. It reduces everything to matter. However, “one does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4), says the Scriptures.
A Spiritual and Superior Side
This materialistic worldview inevitably clashes with the Christian worldview that informs Western thought and civilization. The Christian worldview teaches that each individual has a spiritual soul, superior to matter and oriented toward transcendental truths. Even today, the conservative worldview maintains remnants of this perspective, which was so well formulated by Barry Goldwater, who affirmed that each person is a “spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires.”
This superior side of human nature is what makes all persons unique and establishes their dignity. It gives rise to political, social, cultural and religious activities and sciences that tower above mere material economic sustenance. These subjects address humanity’s spiritual needs and ultimately point to each person’s eternal salvation.
When economics dominates, humanity is demeaned. “The great pageant of history thus became reducible to the economic endeavors of individuals and classes,” writes Richard Weaver of this materialist obsession, continuing: “Man created in the divine image, the protagonist of a great drama in which his soul was at stake, was replaced by man the wealth-seeking and -consuming animal.”
A Moral Crisis of Massive Proportions
When economics alone prevails, a cold, soulless vision of society takes control. Absent is the warmth of family and community relationships that gives life meaning. There is no room for the higher ideals that confer purpose to life. People cannot deal with the inevitable sufferings from which no one escapes. People’s lives fall apart.
The lessons of post-modernity have revealed that the most critical problems today are not economic but moral. Though money may buy pleasure, it cannot acquire or determine happiness. That is why unhappiness can be found in every social class, including the extremely wealthy.
Government programs cannot restore broken families and shattered communities. Only a moral regeneration of non-economic values can do this. The ravages of loneliness, despair and suicide must be addressed by filling the spiritual voids that haunt people’s lives—not issuing government checks.
Only God can satisfy the eternal longings of the soul. In the face of this great need, the proposed trillions of dollars amount to nothing.
The Enemy Is the Marxist Worldview
Thus, like all Marxist-inspired endeavors, the spending package is doomed to fail. It will likely generate an unending succession of similar packages, bringing the nation to bankruptcy and ruin. The socialist solution to the problems it creates is always more socialism… crowned by the most abject poverty and misery.
The present crisis represents a clash of worldviews. Yes, the stimulus bills must be opposed. More importantly, however, this materialistic, inhuman, atheistic and Marxist worldview that skews reality and harms souls must be rejected.
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Updated December 3, 2021.