The distinctly American blending of Christianity and Capitalism is an odd amalgamation. Jesus told us rather clearly that primary service to God and Mammon do not mix. Markets make good secondary things but poor first things. The same can be said of democracy and tolerance, fine concepts in their place but ones that draw a similarly over-elevated (if inconsistently applied) devotion from the left. “Brass,” as C.S. Lewis noted, “is mistaken for gold more easily than clay is.”Julian Simon rightly reminded the Paul Ehrlichs of the world that humanity is not predestined to be a cancer and that downward trends are not inevitable. Positive innovations do sometimes save the day (even if they might also create a new problem for another day). But the possibility of beneficial technological solutions is not a guarantee that they will always occur. We live in a world of wheat and tares, not one of always increasing material harvests. Neither is the economic “virtue” of self-interest the ultimate solution to the problem of sin. Our savior is not ourselves. American conservatism does increasingly find itself at a crossroads. The way of the cross and the way of the economist are not one and the same.
In Carbon and Capitalism We Trust? | John Murdock | First Things