The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’  –Luke 16:1-13

A friend and I recently discussed this parable.  We’d both wrestled with it before.  It’s difficult because it can be interpreted to imply that it is acceptable to obtain wealth unethically, even prudent or shrewd to do so, providing one ultimately obtains friends or performs acts of charity afterwards, which in addition to subverting honesty, would imply that the means justifies the end.  When thus interpreted, it can be a stumbling block for faith, a source of inconsistency for establishing Jesus’ character to the extent that He’s seen as embracing dishonesty / unethical conduct.  Similarly, why come to Jesus for that kind of instruction, why not simply remain in the world, in naturalism and the brutish disposition towards survival it often engenders?  Should our righteousness be limited to the extent that it advances our interests or to the extent our friendships grow?  Expositor’s Greek Testament puts the incongruence as follows,

“These two parables, the unjust steward and Dives, bear such a foreign aspect when compared with the general body of Christ’s teaching as to give rise to a doubt whether they have any claim to a place in an authentic record of His sayings.”
“In favor of the authenticity of the first of the two parables is its apparently low ethical tone which has been such a stumbling-block to commentators.  Who but Jesus would have had the courage to extract a lesson of wisdom from conduct like that of the unrighteous steward?”[1]

Whether a person is now honest or dishonest in their financial affairs, our Lord asserts that we ought to make friends for the evil day that awaits, the day of death, that we may be welcomed into eternal homes.  Certainly, the Kingdom of God is not about real estate but relationships.  Nonetheless, it is possible to imitate the steward’s prudence while keeping clear of his iniquity.  Moreover,

“…it must be possible to make friends against the evil day by unobjectionable actions.  The mere fact that the lesson of prudence is drawn from the life of an unprincipled man is no difficulty to anyone who understand the nature of parabolic instruction.  The comparison between men of the world and the “sons of light” explain and apologizes for the procedure.  If you want to know what prudent attention to self-interest means, it is to men of the world you must look.”[2]

How can we make friends for the evil day or what kinds of friends might these be?

“…the friends are not named, but the next parable throws light on the that point.  They are the poor, the Lazaruses whom Dives did not make friends of –to his loss.  The counsel is to use wealth in doing kindness to the poor, and the implied doctrine that doing so will be to our eternal benefit.  Both counsel and doctrine are held to apply even when wealth has been ill-gotten.  Friends of value for the eternal world can be gained even by the mammon of unrighteousness.  The more ill-gotten the more need to be redeemed by beneficent use; only care must be taken not to continue to get money by unrighteousness in order to have wherewith to do charitable deeds, a not uncommon form of counterfeit philanthropy, which will not count in the Kingdom of Heaven.” [3]

But is there still confusion?

“Vv. 10-13.  These verses contain not so much an application as a corrective of the parable.  They may have been added by Lk. (so J. Weiss in Meyer, and Holtzmann, H.C.) to prevent misunderstanding, offence, or abuse, so serving the same purpose as the addition “unto repentance” to the saying, “I came not to call,” etc. (v. 32); another instance of editorial solicitude on the part of an evangelist ever careful to guard the character and teaching of Jesus against misunderstanding.  So viewed, their drift is: “the steward was dishonest in money matters; do not infer that it does not matter whether you be honest or not in that sphere.  It is very necessary to be faithful even there.  For faithful in little faithful in much, unfaithful in little unfaithful in much.  He who is untrustworthy in connection with worldly goods is unworthy of being entrusted with the true riches; the unjust administrator of another’s property will not deserve confidence as an administrator even of his own.  In the parable the steward tried to serve two masters, his lord and his lord’s creditors, and by so doing promoted his own interest.  But the thing cannot be done, as even his case shows.”  This corrective, if not spoken by Jesus, is not contrary to His teaching. (Ver. 10 echoes Mt. xxv. 21, Lk. Xix. 17; ver. 13 reproduces verbally the logion in Mt. vi. 24.)  Yet as it stands here it waters down the parable and weakens the point of its teaching.  Note the epithets applied to money: the little or least, the unjust, and by implication, the fleeting, that which belongs to another (τῷ ἀλλοτρίῳ).  Spiritual riches are the “much,” the “true” τὸ ἀληθινὸν, in the Johannine sense = the ideal as opposed to the vulgar shadowy reality, “our own” (ἡμέτερον)[4]

With respect to prudent financial management, what challenges exist between community and corporate interests?  Do for-profit corporations consider the needs of the working family?  Which or how many for-profit companies strive to spread ownership throughout the community, especially if working wages are too low for one worker to support a family?  Many would argue that corporations predominantly serve shareholders and executives, and that more government oversight is necessary to ensure community interests are addressed, but that government officials themselves are too heavily influenced by corporate lobbying.  If that’s true, are cultural changes in order?

Arguably, those striving for a pure heart, who desire to “see God,” [5] develop a special kind of culture –the disposition, goods and activities they create and surround themselves with.  The characteristics involved with the exchange of goods and services within a given city, state or nation constitutes its economic system.  If most of those living in a given area are striving for a pure heart, what would their economic system look like?

I argue in this article that such an economy would be capunistic, and that such an economy is best to the extent that it acknowledges the transcendent dignity of the human person, made in the visible image of the invisible God.

I thought of the term capunism shortly after graduating high school, combining the cap of capitalism with the unism of communism.  I had hoped to highlight, and in some way, combine the positive economic aspects of capitalism and communism.  At the time, I didn’t know much about communism, but generally held it in a positive light through a believed connection to the word: community.  Nonetheless, for many, communism is held with disdain.  This disdain comes from its historical connection with atheist and/or racist ideologies, wherein the transcendent dignity of the human person, made in the visible image of the invisible God, is denied, resulting in the murder of millions of innocent people, e.g. 60 million under Joseph Stalin through the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  This has also been the case with various forms of socialism, e.g. 50 million under Mao Zedong through the People’s Republic of China and 20 million under Adolf Hitler through the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

To the extent that a communist or socialist economic system simultaneously encompasses atheist and/or racist ideologies, wherein basic human rights are trampled over, such disdain is appropriate.  In such cases, I’m not attempting to dissuade anyone from this disdain, but would encourage it.

However, with respect to building community through an economic system that encourages greater social harmony, e.g. collective compassion in ensuring that the basic needs of others have been accounted for, needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and even basic healthcare and education, I examine the potentially beneficial aspects of communism / socialism.  Helping to ensure that the basic needs of others have been accounted for comprises the bulwark of most religious and non-profit activities.  Generally, no one in their right mind opposes community and social work that helps to empower people.

Interestingly, if the preeminent message of St. John the Baptist were enacted universally, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” less charity work would be necessary,
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  –Luke 1:14-16

In that the Kingdom of God is at hand, could that kingdom, in addition to encouraging agapic love, encompass greater economic order?  Does agapic love foster a certain kind of economy?  Consider the following verse from the Book of Acts in the New Testament, taken from three different translations of the Bible, reflecting the economic community of the early Christian Church:

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.  –NRSV

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.  –New Living Translation

And all those who believed were together and everything they had was communal.  And those who had a possession were selling it and distributing to each man according to whatever was needed.
–Aramaic Bible

Rather than a system where segregation occurs based on ethnic background or conformity to a naturalist / atheistic viewpoint, where one may more readily hate their “enemy” than love them, believers in the early Christian Church, believers in a God of Love, who saw their Creator as having made each person in His own image, as a person of infinite value, made their priority caring for one another.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Likewise, in addition to a water baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each member was immersed in a belief that every person has a soul, fashioned in the image of the Creator and of infinite worth.

Dripping from this immersion, I hereby attempt a vision for the Kingdom of God that would entail greater central planning.  Again, I aim to disassociate the historical aspects of communism and socialism from their degenerative nature insofar as they encompass teachings that aim to dissolve the fundamental rights of the human person and the value and dignity of family life, as otherwise embodied and uplifted through the Church, the Bride of Christ.  Similarly, I stand against critical theory, a neo-Marxist philosophy that would teach that Christian family values are the principal obstacle to human liberation, thus engendering the strategies of the sexual revolution rooted in Sigmund Freud’s pansexualism, i.e. the search for pleasure that would exploit the differences between the sexes to incite gender conflict and exploit their commonality to incite gender confusion.[6]

I stand apart from Antonio Gramsci, an Italian neo-Marxist theorist and politician whose vision for socialism sought to revolutionize religion in culture –the Catholic Church was Gramsci’s prime target –his socialist view was designed to destroy belief in God and to deny the reality of the supernatural life by changing the existing Christian mind into an anti-Christian mind through a false Marxist humanism which encourages the entire effort to be solely by man and for man’s sake, thus attempting to overthrow Judeo-Christian moral and spiritual values.

Lastly, I stand against Fabian socialism, whose symbol is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, reminiscent of their predatory strategy of concealed stealth and deception, having a stated aim of, ‘the reorganization of society by the emancipation of land and industrial capital from individual and class ownership –the extinction of private ownership of property in land.’

Conversely, I stand with the Catholic Church, with the statements issued by the Holy See through Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical on socialism,

‘…family life itself, which is the cornerstone of all society and government, necessarily feels and experiences the salutary power of the Church, which redounds to the right ordering and preservation of every State and kingdom. For you know, venerable brethren, that the foundation of this society rests first of all in the indissoluble union of man and wife according to the necessity of natural law, and is completed in the mutual rights and duties of parents and children. You know also that the doctrines of socialism strive almost completely to dissolve this union, since, the stability which is imparted to it by religious wedlock is lost.  Thus, it follows that the power of the father over his own children, and the duties of the children toward their parents, must be greatly weakened. But the Church, on the contrary, teaches that “marriage should be honored by all” [Hebrews 13:4], God Himself having instituted marriage in the very beginning of the world, is indissoluble for the propagation and preservation of the human person, and more binding and holy through Christ, who raised it to the dignity of a sacrament, and chose to use it as the figure of His own union with the Church.’[7]

With respect to Providential guidance towards a superior economic system, consider the warnings given to the children of Fatima by Our Blessed Mother,
“she [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church…”

These warning have been excellently discussed by Warren H. Carroll, founder of Christendom College, in his book, “1917: Red Banners, White Mantle.”  I propose that these warnings were oriented towards the atheistic nature of the Russian Revolution with its abolition of private property and its class warfare, rather than those intentions encompassing efficient central planning to create an optimal economic system.  Moreover,
“The Church …condemns only those systems which deny the legitimacy of [private] property, not those which utilize central planning.  In fact, …central planning is positively supported by the Church, though always subject, of course, to the principle of subsidiary.” [8]

The extent that a society regulates its economy with oversight, principles and laws, is the extent that it may be viewed as socialist or communist, insofar as such terms do not encompass anything other than economic terms that contrast with capitalism –such measures are aspects of central planning. Conversely, without such order, laissez faire capitalism dominates, i.e. the market continues unchecked by any principles, laws or guidelines developed through society.  It was this laissez faire nature of capitalism that led to the “Mephistopheles of Wall Street,” who nearly corned the gold market in 1869,[9] and later, the first economic collapse of 1929, i.e. the Great Depression.  And more recently, the Great Recession of 2006, leading to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which focused on “social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and perceived undue influence of corporations on government –particularly from the financial services sector.[10]

Arguably, America has economic elements of communism / socialism woven into the fabric of her economy.  Examples of this can be seen through the availability of Medicaid, unemployment compensation, HUD housing, food stamps, subsidized farming and educational loans, government bailouts, FDIC insured banks as well as fines or penalties for unethical conduct.  Perhaps one of the best recent examples includes the government’s intervention in the healthcare market to ensure that those with preexisting health conditions can still obtain healthcare coverage.  The collective values of a society are reflected in its economic order –the American people care for those who don’t or are unable to care for themselves –American society is formally organized to help provide for those less fortunate and to promote the common good.

Thus, in viewing capitalism and communism as economic systems, each on opposite sides of a spectrum, within the context of one constituting no central planning (capitalism) and the other being complete central planning (communism), one might view capunism in the middle, with socialism also near the middle, or located closer to communism, depending on the number of industries that function per centrally planned guidelines.  Furthermore, in this article, I write about capunism as a system where basic necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, education and basic healthcare, are provided to all citizens.  And yet, I do so within an awareness that such a system is doomed to fail as a result of our fallen human nature, a nature prone to abuse good things, especially without regular upkeep made possible through the redeeming blood of Jesus and the numerous fruits of His Church and all those who seek Truth, Justice, Mercy and agapic Love.

Drawing upon the idea that neither capitalism nor communism are balanced or complete economic systems in themselves, capunism is similar to distributism.  Moreover, distributism seeks to subordinate economic activity to human life as a whole… to our spiritual, intellectual and family life.  G. K. Chesterton, the “prince of paradox” was an advocate of distributism.

“Chesterton’s opening line in his book about his visit to America was this: “I have never managed to lose my conviction that travel narrows the mind.”  As with all his paradoxes he points to a truth that is the opposite of what we expect. The man in his field, the man in his garden, thinks about everything. The man who is traveling thinks about only a few things. He is distracted not just with details but with destinations. He thinks the thing he has come to see is the only important thing and this makes him narrow. The real purpose of traveling is to return. The true destination of every journey is home. That is the main idea behind Distributism.

The distributist ideal is that the home is the most important place in the world. Every man should have his own piece of property, a place to build his own home, to raise his family, to do all the important things from birth to death: eating, singing, celebrating, reading, writing, arguing, story-telling, laughing, crying, praying. The home is above all a sanctuary of creativity. Creativity is our most Godlike quality. We not only make things, we make things in our own image. The family is one of those things. But so is the picture on the wall and the rug on the floor. The home is the place of complete freedom, where we may have a picnic on the roof and even drink directly from the milk carton.” [11]

Distributism has also been written about by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum, meaning, of revolutionary change, and by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno, which addresses the reconstruction of the social order.  I had written about capunism before learning about distributism.  According to Donald P Goodman, author of “Distributism: A Catholic System of Economics,”

“Any economic system purporting to advance the economic vision of the papal encyclicals must employ these five principles (productive property, distributive justice, subsidiarity, the preferential option for the poor, and solidarity) toward the restoration of property.  This restoration is the single most important task for the economic reformer; if he cannot accomplish that, he can accomplish nothing.” [12]

Societies benefit most from an order that is subjected to our spiritual, intellectual and family life.  Establishing such an order follows in the wake of acknowledging the eternal human soul, i.e. the infinite worth of every person.  Thus, if there one idea I hope to be most associated with capunism, it is an intention for the universal acknowledge of the eternal human soul.  Moreover, the desire to help those who cannot help themselves is most vigorously cultivated through an understanding and acceptance of the inestimable worth of every human person, a worth grounded in an eternal perspective through acknowledgement of the human soul.

With greater public acknowledgement of the eternal human soul comes an economic system that embraces productive property, distributive justice, subsidiarity, the preferential option of the poor and solidarity.  Such a system involves some degree of central planning so that a person’s basic needs can be met, if only for a certain time, ensuring that, at the very least, those who are less fortunate for some reason or another, do not die of starvation or go without clothes, shelter and basic healthcare and education, and where ownership of the means of wealth generation is widespread.

Distasteful Communism

Notwithstanding the atheistic and/or racist ideologies historically associated with communism, it can be distasteful for many followers of Christ Jesus because if it functioned perfectly in ensuring that all citizens have their basic needs met, there would be fewer opportunities for individual acts of charity.  Accordingly, charity plays a large role in salvation.  Consider the following quote from the Book of Matthew:
The Sheep and the Goats
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.  –Matt 25:32-46

 

Eschatologically speaking, when Jesus returns, He will reign as king over Israel as well as all the nations of the world for 1000 years (Isaiah 2:4, 42:1; Revelation 20:4-6).  His reign will result in divinely orchestrated harmony –the world will live in peace (Isaiah 11:6-9; 31:18), Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3), and at the beginning, everyone will worship God (Isaiah 2:2-3).

Under His reign, is it unreasonable to assume that charity won’t play as large of a role in salvation?  If so, assuming His reign does not automatically correspond with having glorified bodies free from sadness, suffering and death, it will be because He so perfectly administers His kingdom, establishing balance in labor, land ownership, resource development and the production of goods and services, that no one is without housing, food, clothing and other basic necessities, such as healthcare and education.

Is this an unreasonable hope, that He who created all things can order the nations so that all can live in peace and with abundance?  This order, however, corresponds with Satan being bound. [13]  Moreover, there is a danger in hoping for such a world without emphasizing the need for repentance and redemption through the Blood of Jesus, the one sacrifice capable of atoning for the injustice of sin.  To believe otherwise would entail embracing millenarianism in a negative context, wherein such a change occurs through natural means, i.e. without the grace of God, grace that is capable of being imparted where it is needed through the redemptive work of Christ and through the prayers and miracles of the members of His Body, His Bride.
Material poverty and consumerism are not the primary cause of the family crisis.

The primary cause of the sexual and cultural revolution is ideological.

Our Lady of Fatima has said that Russia’s errors would spread all over the world.

It was first done under a violent form, classical Marxism, by killing tens of millions.

Now it’s being done mostly by cultural Marxism. There is continuity from Lenin’s sex revolution, through Gramsci and the Frankfurt school, to the current-day gay-rights and gender ideology.

Classical Marxism pretended to redesign society, through violent take- over of property.

Now the revolution goes deeper; it pretends to redefine family, sex identity and human nature.

This ideology calls itself progressive. But it is nothing else than the ancient serpent’s offer, for man to take control, to replace God, to arrange salvation here, in this world.

It’s an error of religious nature, it’s Gnosticism.

It’s the task of the shepherds to recognize it, and warn the flock against this danger.

“Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The Church’s mission is to save souls. Evil, in this world, comes from sin. Not from income disparity or “climate change”.

The solution is: Evangelization. Conversion.

Not an ever-increasing government control. Not a world government.  These are nowadays the main agents imposing cultural Marxism to our nations, under the form of population control, reproductive health, gay rights, gender education, and so on.

What the world needs nowadays is not limitation of freedom, but real freedom, liberation from sin. Salvation.”[14]

Reform through Knowledge of the Soul

There are several sources of evidence supporting the belief that all human beings have a soul.  Fr. Robert Spitzer has done an excellent job exploring these sources in his book, “The Soul’s Upward Yearning: Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason.”  Such evidence includes,
‘…transphysical consciousness capable of surviving bodily death in the form of near-death experiences; the human capacity for trans-algorithmic mathematical intelligence (beyond rules and programming) from Gödel’s proof; our capacity to experience ourselves experiencing (Chalmer’s hard problem of consciousness), and our capacity for syntactically meaningful language (beyond higher primates according to Chomsky’s test) presumably coming from an innate awareness of heuristic notions.’[15]
Human beings have an innate sense of justice and fairness, historically referred to as “Natural Law.”  C.S. Lewis explored this truth in his book “Mere Christianity,” in the chapter “The Law of Human Nature.”

Many injustices appear to go unpunished in this world.  Even without believing in something as elementary as Intelligent Design or as advanced as Divine Revelation, in light of evidence in support of the existence of the soul, as well as supernatural occurrences, hope for ultimate justice is not unreasonable.

In light of ultimate justice, truth that leads to spiritual development, to preparation of the soul for eternal life, is the most important undertaking.  Thus, in accordance with Divine Revelation, such preparation prepares us to be found worthy of eternal life with Him, the First Cause and Source of Life, or, conversely, to be found dissolute and, to some degree, whether temporarily, as in the case of purgatory, or permanently, separated from Him.

Intellectual development coincides with spiritual development to the extent that it encourages or strengthens an understanding and relationship with the First Cause and Source of Life, with Truth and Love, and, in accordance with appropriate development, the exercise of self-control, i.e. the cultivation of virtue over vice, often brought about through a willingness to suffer, especially for the good of others –the torture and death of Jesus being a prime example of altruistic or agapic suffering.

Plato, one of the greatest intellectual minds of western civilization, taught of the existence of the human soul.  Accordingly, the most refined use of human reason should lead a person to eternal truths and spiritual insights.  Nonetheless, as many believe, some truths require revelation, i.e. they cannot be realized through human reason alone.  In light of such revelation, which will be discussed shortly, one doesn’t need great intellectual ability to live in a way that prepares the soul for eternal life.

In relation to a superior economic system, when a person has more time to devote to intellectual and spiritual development, the wellbeing of their soul can improve.  Sadly, however, there is no way to ensure that if an economy were functioning so well that a person had all the freedom they needed for intellectual and spiritual development, they’d pursue such development.

Members of the early Christian church shared their resources with one another, helping to ensure that no one was prevented from intellectual and spiritual development due to having unmet basic needs.  It is not unlikely that many in the community were previously in some form of bondage or slavery, being freed from that condition when entering the community through the practice of distributive justice.  In some respects, this kind of compassionate attitude already exists in America, not only through the socialist activities mentioned earlier, such as HUD housing, food stamps, Medicaid and tax-funded public education, but through incentives for practicing charity, such as tax deductions.  However, as America becomes increasingly secular, such activities do little to ensure that the Source of all human rights, i.e. the Creator, Truth and Love, having made us in His image, is honored, and that the agapic love that He exemplifies, is embraced.  In this sense, it may be better that such programs are reduced and eliminated so that charity, when practiced, receives recognition in originating from its proper source, i.e. those who know and practice Love, rather than being forced through taxation, thus enabling greater spiritual development for those who come to know and follow that Source.  This would be superior to an approach that aims to simply eliminate temporal forms of poverty but does nothing to curb the source of immoral behavior, the darkness that dwells in every human heart, the result of Original Sin, which itself contributes to intellectual, spiritual and material poverty.

Arguably, access to the Tree of Life, and reentry into the Garden of Eden, where immortality and freedom from work exist, is guarded by a Cherubim and a flaming sword because of the effects of Original Sin.

The Soul, Economics and Government

Concerns regarding the health and destiny of the human soul involve economic and government organization.  Similarly, how we conduct ourselves collectively should reflect our beliefs about the intrinsic dignity and worth of every person.  In a democracy, this collective is exercised through those who are old enough to reason and vote.  In a republic, monarchy or totalitarian state, the group or dignitary is enabled to make executive choices for all other persons, whether deemed most suitable and elected into office, as in a republic, or made so through force, divine right or inheritance, as in a totalitarian state or monarchy.

In light of these forms of government organization, one can acknowledge that in a democracy, or electoral republic, when so many individuals are apathetic or have work schedules so demanding that they preclude intellectual development towards making informed votes, whether directly through malnutrition, an extreme example, or indirectly, through excessively demanding schedules, democratic governments will likely malfunction in securing the basic functions of government.  Similarly, if many of the constituents of a democracy are highly misinformed on issues surrounding the commonwealth, the government will be divided and function ineffectively.

According to James Madison, our second president, there are five basic functions of government:
To establish justice – This is the goal of the passages in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:14, which say that government is to punish evildoers and protect those who do right.
To insure domestic tranquility – This phrase comes from the focus of prayer for government, which Paul urged in 1 Timothy 2:1-2. The New American Standard Bible says to pray for government “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
To provide for the common defense – The protection of innocent human life is at the base of not only capital punishment (Genesis 9:6), but also in the provision of an army for protection from external threats.
To promote the general welfare – Romans 13:4 says that civil rulers are servants “to you for good.” The common good of all classes of citizens must be promoted by government passage of laws guaranteeing equal opportunity. It is not proper for government to provide money and aid to special interest groups. It is to promote, not provide, and to do so for all people in general, not for special people.
To secure the blessings of liberty – Blessing are a gift of one’s Creator, not a privilege granted by government. These blessings include life, liberty, and property. A biblical view of government sees that it cannot provide these, only secure them. [16]

 

Truly, the success of a democratic government rests on the intellectual and spiritual development of its citizens, and there is no better democracy than a monarchic one, wherein Christ, the source of all virtue, is King, ruling in the heart of every person.   Again, in a democracy or electoral republic, when a person is apathetic or works so hard to obtain basic goods involved with survival, or is too concerned with acquiring goods in excess of what they need, such that intellectual and spiritual development are neglected, a problem exists towards the efficient operation of their government because they’re poorly informed about important issues effecting their society and their future, especially those concerning their eternal destiny.  Moreover, when this neglect concerns the dignity and fundamental rights of persons, as is frequently the case when the Source for those rights is neglected, i.e. if spiritual development is poor, then as a whole, such a government will fail to uphold one or more of the functions described by James Madison.

In looking to America, is there sufficient evidence that the majority of citizens already believe in the existence of an immortal human soul?  Do the majority of her citizens believe in life after death?  The answer is, Yes.
“…seven-in-ten (72%) Americans say they believe in heaven – defined as a place “where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded,” according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.” [17]
Should America, wherein most citizens believe in the existence of the soul, govern authoritatively with respect to such belief?  If so, in what way with respect to her economy?  Should the state help to provide a formal means for the development and refinement of resources directed towards housing and clothing, education and basic healthcare, so that no one dies of exposure or preventable diseases, or because of ignorance or starvation?  Vast expanses of land are owned by the U.S. government.  If FDR could employ citizens for the development of parks and recreation during the depression of the 30s, helping to simulate the economy and provide work, couldn’t our government also employ her citizens for the development of self-sustaining communities, and even for surplus, especially for those who are now having trouble finding regular and satisfying work?  Would it not be better for us to use the land of this great nation for such a purpose than to sell it to another country to pay debts that keep getting bigger because root problems haven’t been addressed?  And yet, it is admirable that in having less, we can come to appreciate the things we already have more, even simple things like the gift of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.

Having established that how we conduct ourselves collectively should reflect our beliefs about the intrinsic dignity and worth of every person, to what extent is intellectual development necessary for the recognition of the human soul, and in accordance with spiritual development, the salvation of the soul?  And, what can be done to foster such growth?

With respect to the religious beliefs of most Americans (70.6% of Americans can be classified as Christian per the Pew Research Center[18]), if God is impartial, such that fear of Him and doing what is right is all that is necessary for salvation, as St. Peter, the first Pope, stated in the Book of Acts,
“I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”  (10:34-35)
…then intellectual development would not be necessary towards salvation except to the extent that it encompasses knowing about this God who should be feared and knowing between what is right and wrong.

St. Peter’s statement has been reaffirmed in a recent Papal Encyclical, entitled Lumen Gentium,

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.[19]

Since government has a primary role in influencing public awareness of right and wrong, often reflected indirectly through laws enacted, and more directly through public education, particularly education concerning what is good and evil, government influences the state of the soul.  Clearly, a government that prevents such intellectual development negatively impacts the souls of her constituents.

In order for there to be right and wrong, there has to be absolutes.  Such absolutes regarding human behavior, behavior which is nearly always under the control of free will, can only be absolute if they’re established from a position of authority.  Otherwise, such concerns are relative, depending on the perspective of those involved.

From a Judeo-Christian perspective, the authority for establishing right and wrong rests in the hands of Jehovah or Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, who gave the 10 Commandments through Moses.  For those who believe, this same God further revealed His nature through His Son, Christ Jesus.  Of these, the majority of the world’s population (1.4 billion [20] [21] vs. 900 million[22]) believe He established the Catholic Church, and that He established her with St. Peter in authority, as the rock,[23][24] the visible head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ on earth, with today’s Vicar being Pope Francis.

With respect to the second component of salvation according to St. Peter, i.e. being found righteous in His eyes, those who know more about Him are best suited to grow in righteousness as He reveals what this righteousness consists of.  Thus, all countries wherein the majority of constituents believe in the existence of the human soul, of heaven, should be interested in ensuring that this righteousness is known.

Fear, Government and God

With respect to the first component of Peter’s statement, i.e. fear of God, there often needs to be a rational source of fear, i.e. there has to be some kind of power or authority that can hinder or endanger one’s life or the destiny of their soul as a consequence for a wrong committed.  In a spiritual sense, many refer to this as Karma.  Oftentimes however, the concrete reality of punishment for wrongdoing, as often reflected through known laws and the consequences for breaking those laws, helps to establish fear, and accordingly, there has to be someone, or a group, who has been given such authority, e.g. the police.
‘Rulers do not engender fear in those who do right but in those who do wrong; if you don’t want to live in fear of those in authority, do what is right and you will be commended. Those in authority act as servants of God for the good of society.  But if you do wrong, you should be afraid, for rulers do not enforce the law without good reason, serving as agents of justice. Therefore, submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but as a matter of conscience.’  –Romans 13:3-5

In any government, a rationale fear exists in cases where one violates the laws of that government, at least to the extent that such laws are enforced and the punishment is loathsome.  However, when such government does not exist with respect to any higher authority, but rests solely on the reason of human beings, laws can become perverse, especially if the reason called upon is underdeveloped in a certain sense, often a sense only understood through the light of Divine Revelation.

Nonetheless, to the extent that such basic human laws are noble and assist in protecting the rights of all in the community, such fear is good –the state has a right to protect and preserve the wellbeing of her citizens.  And yet, if such fear exists in relation to an unjust law, such as one that would inhibit freedom of speech or freedom of religion, and thereby, inhibit intellectual development towards understanding truth and righteousness, then such a government would not be in the true service of her constituents.  Similarly, if fear exists because those in authority endanger, hinder or kill those they should serve because they believe, according to their reason, that those they rule over are endangering the greater system of government when they seek to know truth, such a system is corrupt.  People should have the liberty to learn about alternative forms of truth, even if such “truths” are incomplete or inaccurate, enabling them to form their own conscience.  However, it makes sense that the government the people set up provides an overarching medium for discerning and realizing the truth.  This is the government we look forward to in Christ at His return.  Nonetheless, unless the fundamental human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness / right to own property are acknowledged, such a government does not serve its constituents as it should.

With respect to protecting innocent human life, does a majority need to agree that it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being?  Similarly, if killing an innocent person is wrong all the time, should it take a majority vote to substantiate this wrong?  Certainly not.  This truth is absolute, ascertainable through reason and natural law.  Otherwise, if it is okay in some circumstances to kill an innocent person, such as when they’re dependent on you for some reason, what will stop one from killing those who are disabled or unable to care for themselves, or from killing one who is seen as an inconvenience?  Thus, if there is no absolute truth that it is never okay to kill an innocent person, then killing an innocent person is okay, depending on the circumstance and/or perspective of those involved.

Sadly, in America, the wrongfulness of killing innocent human beings has often been put to vote, though this was not the case in 1965, when all 50 states had made abortion illegal. [25]  Is it not hard to fathom how America does not formally recognize that all human beings begin their life at the moment of conception, that aborting the growth of that person is a violation of that person’s right to life, a right established not by government, but by the Creator of Life, especially in light of the advances in science and technology that can firmly establish facts about that person growing in his or her mother’s womb, such as their unique, never to be created again, genetic identity?   It is sad that America has come to the place where she allows the rights of unborn children to be trampled over, where it is legal to crush the skull of an unborn child in his or her mother’s womb and rip them apart limb from limb.

Who has the right to end an innocent human life?  Assuming that such a right is subject to agreement from a majority, as opposed to being established through a Creator, will the majority ever come to an agreement that destroying innocent human life is an absolute wrong?  If they did, would they then be justified in imposing that “belief” on those that don’t agree?

Accordingly, if it is an absolute truth that directly ending the life of an innocent human being is always wrong, any nation that allows such a wrongful practice to go unpunished, either by refusing to allow education that helps reduce the practice, or refusing to create and enforce laws against it, cannot rest with the favor of that Creator who embodies absolute Truth and who has unequivocally declared that it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being.  Nor can the individuals who compose such a government rest with the favor of such a Creator if they do not work to prevent the wrong, whether by serving in public office directly or by fulfilling their civic responsibilities through being informed about those running for public office and voting appropriately.  Better yet, they establish their government so that those serving the public testify that they will always defend the rights of every innocent person before being eligible for such an office.[26]

In a simple society, such as a third world country, one may know very little of what is right or wrong with respect to revealed Biblical truths, possibly due to illiteracy or a lack of missionaries who would provide such education, but know deep in their heart that it is right to practice charity towards their neighbor when the need arises and to abhor harming others.  According to St. Peter, one who does this would likely find favor with God.  However, this assumes that the fear of God is of negligible importance when it is impossible due to a lack of access to revealed knowledge about Him.  In that case, fear of those in positions of authority, whether parents, servants of the public, such as police officers, or political rulers, would suffice in place of the fear of the Lord.  Even though such a substitution is imperfect, it enables the practice of virtues such as obedience, honor, loyalty and courage… admirable virtues, even if the temporal sources of authority are corrupt.

Understanding the reality of corrupt temporal authorities helps to substantiate just war theory as well as the instructions the Israelites received to take possession of the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership.  To those who believe, the Israelites were chosen by the Creator Himself.  It is through the Israelites that the Life, the Truth and the Way, the Logos, became flesh in the womb of a virgin; it is through divine grace that the Israelites were given knowledge of Him.

In situations that involve corrupt authority, we can hope the individual’s conscience, or their guardian angel, comes to their aid, leading them to the best choice, whatever that might be.  With regards to corruption, does a nine-year-old child who is sexually abused know that such treatment is wrong, especially if they’re manipulated into believing elsewise or terrified of speaking out?  Does a nine-year-old child who is taught to hate someone from another religion or area know that such hatefulness is wrong unless taught so?
“It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” –Luke 17:2
According to America’s founding fathers, people are more likely to suffer injustice, especially when it is widespread, becoming a type of norm, than attempt to avail themselves of such suffrage.  In today’s age of technological advancement, those who’ve been suffering injustice at the hands of their government over the last one hundred years, without overthrowing that government and establishing a new and just one, are even less likely to do so, however justly, because military power is in the hands of that state, power that is far more advanced than it was 100 years ago.  In these cases, cooperative efforts among nations may be necessary.

Nations Equipped to Lead

What nation is fit to lead if not one that truly recognizes the rights of all human beings?  As far as I know, only the Vatican state recognizes these rights in law and deed.  However, she does not currently have a military with which she may defend those who cannot defend themselves, nor can she defend herself, at least not according to human means.

Where does the authority to rightfully teach children about true love, marriage and loving others, even one’s enemies, come from?  If parents do not teach what is right and wrong with regards to cultivating true love, whether due to ignorance or indifference, should the state have the authority to do so?  Let us assume that it does not, but that some people wish to live in a state that does, thereby granting the state such authority.  Where does such a state exist?  Should such a state not have the freedom to teach such truths in their public or state schools?

With regards to economics, a state that evaluates the possibility of providing for the basic needs of its citizens could help encourage a balanced system of resource use, helping to avoid waste, especially with regards to the advent of computers and the ability to accurately forecast demand.  In contrast, a for-profit company that owns the rights to such resources has no incentive other than making a profit, and is not likely to be concerned with damage to the environment when processing the resource, or the proper disposal of the resource after it has left the factory, unless fined or taxed.

This is not to suggest that most companies are not concerned about these things, certainly, many are.  However, as the saying goes, one bad apple can spoil the bunch because when one cuts corners to provide a lower price, pressure exists on the others to do likewise or go out of business. This is where the people must step in.

Capunist Economy

In a capitalist economy, when corners are being cut to reduce costs, that company can often offer their product or service at a lower price.  This compels competing companies to do the same, potentially unethically, potentially harming the environment.  With respect to human rights, many products are produced in areas where fair wages aren’t enforced, potentially enabling human slavery.  However, other businesses are not able to compete, though they hope to produce the same product ethically.  In these cases, a just government is necessary to regulate the production and distribution of products and services.

Similarly, in regards to products or services procured unethically, such as cocoa beans through “slave labor,” only when consumers are informed about which products and services are procured through acceptable means, and are able and willing to act on that knowledge, will good companies survive while bad ones die.  Thus, people need to be willing to suffer without having certain “wants” met when no companies offer similar products or services acceptably.  Arguably, it is the function of a just government to ensure its citizens are aware of how products are being produced in order to ensure basic human rights are upheld, and even to tax or otherwise punish individuals or companies that do not respect these rights, which could include rights violated through willful ignorance.  Such measures can help reduce injustice.  For example, imagine “mandatory” education programs that inform citizens on the production of just products and services.  Thus, all would be required to know where products are being made unethically.  And, those who choose not to complete the programs could face higher taxes or fines.

On the bright side, the owners of unethical companies may participate in providing for the needs of a given country or locale through a charity or foundation.  However, the people of that society are at the mercy of that company or individual when no positive state infrastructure intervenes to ensure such measures.  If the company were running only for profit, the natives could be in bad shape.

Difficult Work Schedules

Parents who work incessantly to provide for the basic needs of their family have greater challenges to overcome in meeting civic responsibilities that could help to address issues such as these, especially when related to intellectual and spiritual development.  Similarly, if they choose such development over work, they may not be able to survive, ending up on the street or living under a bridge. [27]  In this cycle, assuming it is not related to consumerism or materialism, i.e. working for goods and services far in excess of what one needs, those who do not vote due to a lack of adequate education surrounding relevant issues are somewhat blameless.

Alternatively, those who work at least a 40-hour work week and have families ought to have at least one day per week to review concerns related to issues surrounding injustice and poverty, though they’re likely exhausted or busy with catching up from the last week and preparing for the next.  Thankfully however, many do have that day off, and sometimes they have two, but they may not use it for that purpose.  And, who among us can blame them?  Who doesn’t want to simply unwind after a long week, enjoying many of the recreational or entertainment options available?

Apathy

Sadly, many of us are apathetic.  Rather than seriously investigating sources of injustice and poverty, with ease, life can become solely about recreation and entertainment.

Although we may not be able to make the kind of sacrifices those who are living completely for Him do, such as those living in religious orders, working as missionaries or volunteers, we may be able to help support them.

How many people would rather give some of their income to charities than pay taxes, especially when they don’t support certain tax-budget expenses, such as paying for contraception and abortion services, nor a government that favors naturalism over faith in a Creator within public schools or at public activities, nor the freedom of expression for non-profit companies with respect to endorsing political candidates or leaders?  Should changes to taxation occur so that greater benefits accrue for those who give to charity, so that public schools favoring naturalism no longer receive money from the government, so that non-profit companies may endorse political candidates or leaders without losing tax-exempt status?

If it’s righteous to give 10% of one’s income to charity, what portion of taxation already counts towards that righteousness to the extent that the money is used for charitable programs? Should certain charitable activities be run through the state or through religious organizations?  Consider an orphanage –is not a child more apt to receive the proper level of love and attention when members of the community already go by the name Mother and Father, Sister and Brother?  What right does the state have to deny funding to such a religious organization, providing it operates legitimately and does not inspire hatred or prejudice, i.e. that form of prejudice resulting from ignorance after having been taught only one side of the story or one version of the “truth,” simply because it is religious?  If the majority of citizens believe God’s nature to be a certain way, such as inspired through Judeo-Christian beliefs, is it unreasonable that the government those people set-up favors such organizations?  Likewise, what right does the state have to tax or fine a religious organization when they choose not to show any support for abortion or similar products or services, thereby threatening their freedom of belief and expression?

Many of the those who work in areas of social justice and for temporal and spiritual works of mercy live on less than $20,000 per year.  With more charitable support, they can have some kind of a retirement to look forward to.  And yet, often these kinds of people enjoy working too much to retire!  Sadly, this is often the opposite for those who are living for recreation and entertainment, who often complain about work instead of seeing it as something that can be an offering to Him.[28]

When apathy is dominant, democracy malfunctions.  Apathy, indifference and ignorance are the hidden enemies of a democracy.  Sadly, those who do wish to educate themselves about important issues can easily be misinformed, whether due to human error or unethical practices in the production and distribution of information. [29]  With such busy work schedules, and so many competing sources for recreation and entertainment, many lack the time to evaluate the truthfulness of political statements or to seek out opposing views.  Sadly, only 54.9% of eligible voters cast their vote in the 2012 presidential election.[30]

Organizing Work for Basic Necessities

One possible solution to the problem of being stuck in an overly-demanding work schedule in order to survive, to mechanized automation replacing human jobs, to unfair wages and escalating costs of healthcare, education and housing, is to transform an economy so that all citizens are able to have their basic needs met through the cooperative efforts of those in that society.  Consider a government that employs workers to develop, mine and/or refine natural resources that contribute to having basic necessities met, with each organization or group of people responsible for a given resource in a given area taking on more ownership and potentially benefiting more directly through having the option to sell some of those resources to those who have the means and a desire for greater abundance.  And yet, most people won’t be satisfied living in a tent-like dwelling and eating bread and beans, and yet, many will, not that such a lifestyle would be necessary, except perhaps initially in some areas.

If the backbone of a society is composed of righteous people who are content in having little, but who are fiercely discontent in the face of injustice for those who cannot help themselves, would such a society not be better off than one where constituents are dissatisfied without having the latest phone or TV, caring little about injustice and the protection of basic human rights?  Certainty there is tension between having something we want and first ensuring that the basic needs of others have been met, needs which include the protection of basic rights.

Assuming more people wanted to live in a society where justice was the first concern of the majority, even if such justice had to be legislated and enforced, e.g. higher fines or taxes for imports produced unethically, the reshaping of an economy to reflect a greater sense of collective ownership and orientation towards the satisfaction of basic needs, would need to be voluntary –no one could be forced to participate.  This was the opposite situation under Joseph Stalin, where land was confiscated from the people for the government and those who dissented were killed.  Instead, social pressure, when the good principles of the system are realized by the majority, should be sufficient enough.  Even if it is not, the change should never be enforced.  This is not to say that there aren’t causes for a just war, i.e. when there are systematic, gross injustices to the dignity and God-given rights of persons, but rather, that in a given economic system, though imperfect, one can never necessitate a change involving violence when those living within that system at least have fundamental human rights preserved and upheld.  Similarly, it would be better to continue within the imperfect system than to take the life of another in the hopes of realizing a better economic system.  Moreover, an unjust means never justifies an intended end.

With respect to voluntary enactment, change would need to come through a majority who see the advantages to this type of system and would vote in favor of it, or would vote to have a larger portion of their tax dollars used for such purposes.  Of course, if no one is working, but only collecting basic needs, say grains, legumes, oil, nuts, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and carrots, with cotton for clothing and wood, concrete, wiring, plastic, glue and nails for shelter, such a system would only be sustainable to the extent that production, refinement and distribution of such commodities can be automated, which, given the extent of our technological advancement over the last 100 years, is not unreasonable.  Are not robots capable of planting, watering and harvesting potatoes, fueled by solar or wind energy?

Conversely, suppose a man and his family of four loves almonds,[31] especially almond milk and honey.  He owns one acre of land (43,560 square feet) and plants trees on most of the land with 10 x 22-foot spacing, eventually yielding 22,000 pounds of almonds.  His bees produce many gallons of honey from the almond blossoms.  His family and he only want/need 500 pounds of almonds for the year, supplying he and his family with two gallons of almond milk per week.  They keep much of the honey for themselves, sweetening the almond milk and preparing champagne mead for wedding celebrations.  He trades or sells some of the remaining almonds and honey to his neighbors and the rest to the government such that he can purchase other needs, and some wants, for his family.  Another man loves oranges and does the same.  Another loves cattle and does likewise, another poultry.  The government helps ensure that enough men or communities plant enough trees so that enough food is available for those who desire it, and that the price of those almonds is not undermined by companies who employ unethically, i.e. fail to fairly distribute the wealth or means of production, or otherwise employ slave labor.  If the area where the family is living is arid, and enough families are also living in that area, the government may also help to ensure that water is available, such as ocean water that has been desalinated and piped into that area, or rain water that has been harvested from other areas where there is greater abundance.

While the kind of record keeping and coordination that would allow a government to forecast demand and production of commodities may not have been possible 100 years ago, with today’s advancement in computers, anyone owning a computer or even a smart phone could perform the calculations necessary, even seamlessly applying various variables to mitigate risk and ensure a regular supply of basic commodities are available.

It is known that America needs at least a million new farmers in the next decade.  Nearly 70% of all farmers in the U.S. are over the age of 55 and only 4% of farmers are younger than 35.  The USDA is now pushing for 100,000 new farmers every year for five years.  Interestingly, 45% of the military comes from a rural background.

One way we can help make a difference today is to support programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was evaluated by Congress for budget cuts in 2015.   SNAP is a crucial part of the Farm Bill.  Cuts or structural changes to the program will harm poor and hungry people; SNAP helps relieve pressure on overwhelmed parishes, charities, food banks and other emergency food providers who struggle to meet the needs of hungry people.

Now, returning to our example of an almond farmer, and taking that example to an extreme, did you know that every person living in the world today could own one acre of arable land?  However, that may not be the case in 25 years, at least according to some estimates.[32]  Nonetheless, such estimates do not take into consideration the possibility of creating more arable land through modern technological advancements, such as the possibility of desert-like areas being converted into arable land through the processing of ocean water into usable water, whether distilled through wind and solar energies, or desalinated and piped to appropriate areas much like oil is today.  Or, mountains and rocks being crushed and colonized by plants that later break down to produce usable soil, or being moved[33] to areas where there is such a need.  Similarly, such efforts don’t take into account the possibility of government incentives for companies and households to recycle organic waste into usable compost.  Lastly, such estimates do not take into account the possibility that many people would prefer to live in high-rise buildings, thereby allowing more people to live on less land, potentially alternating their locations at various times of the year in order to experience nature in all its forms, with different climate and geographic landscapes as well as nearby fauna and flora, not to mention alternating agricultural activities.

Long-term, however, given a worse-case scenario, some people may not be able to become property owners, thereby becoming envious or jealous of those that are, potentially resulting in violence, though never justifiably.  This worse-case scenario may occur when those who already have a claim on certain natural resources or land, whether owned by an individual or collectively by a corporation, do not want to forfeit what they own, even at a reasonable price.  And, they should not be forced to.  Again, the notion of enforcement is one of the biggest fears associated with communism, i.e. ‘Buy into the system or die.’  Such an approach is inescapably orientated towards failure –you cannot justify stealing from one person, family or company to give to others who don’t have the same or similar enough, especially when those who have more have worked very hard to achieve their surplus.  And yet, the King gives a warning to those who store up the treasures of this world but neglect charity:
The Parable of the Rich Fool

The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.  –Luke 12:16-21

Crime and Punishment

Since a successful capunist or distributive system is voluntary, those who do participate, but act contrary to the good of society in some way, e.g. committing a crime, would lose the privilege of being able to receive benefits.  If such a person is dependent on such a system, having no means to provide for themselves for some reason or another, and they’ve lost the benefits of receiving food, clothing and shelter, they’d likely end up on the streets or in an abandoned barn, potentially passing away unless others show them mercy.  This is a real example of an opportunity to show compassion, and this situation exists already with many who are homeless, unable to find work because of a crime on their record.  Such situations could lead to great friendships.

Nonetheless, as a whole, our society shows mercy to those who have committed a crime that necessitates incarceration in that they’re able to have their basic needs met.  Without these basic needs being met, those who are unable to find work but are starving are more likely to commit another crime in order to have their basic needs met, i.e. going back to the penitentiary.  Sadly, however, many countries are much less merciful in dealing with those who commit crimes.[34]

Arguably, the death penalty is only justified in cases where incarceration isn’t possible, and where letting those proven guilty go free, would likely result in similarly heinous crimes being committed.  This is because judgment of such a severe nature ultimately rests with God, who alone is authorized to take life, with complete fairness and justice.  And yet, the arm of His mercy is longer than the arm of His justice.  Will we not be judged for the apathy we show when by our inactivity we allow a failing system to continue, a system that fails to provide educational development for spiritual growth through a false sense of a need for separation of church and state, which when appropriately orchestrated, e.g. no endorsement of any denomination by the state, would otherwise help to prevent crimes that might suggest the appropriateness of the death penalty from occurring in the first place?  How often do survival-of-the-fittest notions factor into crimes committed?

Since our government currently regulates wealth creation, [35] it can just as easily create and fund jobs so that no citizen is impoverished in the sense of having no place to live, no clothing to wear or food to eat.  Of course, this requires that these citizens are of sound mind and choose to live indoors rather than outdoors, stay clothed rather than walk around naked, and eat nutritious food rather than consume alcohol or other kinds of drugs.  These latter cases that are indicative of mental disorder often require proper treatment, such as counseling, medication and/or substance abuse treatment, which should be subsidized through the government, and is likely to be most effective when combined with spiritual growth.  However, such subsidization, when involving centers that include spiritual oversight, shouldn’t be obstructed by concerns over separation of church and state, especially when evidence indicates that spiritual growth, even exorcism, is a vital part of a complete recovery.

Additionally, if economies were orchestrated to ensure that the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter could be met for citizens, industry oriented towards developing products that become obsolete from one year to the next (though not necessarily because the technology isn’t advancing, but because change is necessary for employees to continue making a living), might adjust to develop products that are built to last many years past their date of manufacturing.  Isn’t it sad when something is designed cheaply so that it breaks down after a few years and the consumer must purchase another?  Currently, engineering for durability can be neglected to promote industry, contributing to waste of finite resources.  However, a capunist economy could contribute to job creation through recycling useful parts of some of these products, rather than having them end up in a landfill.  Similarly, capunist economies could provide more incentives for consumers to deliver failed products to recycling centers rather than dumping them in the trash.  How much collective orchestration must occur for this to be successful?  Must large cities shelter smaller ones –do large cities that benefit from certain natural resources have an obligation to help smaller cities that surround them, and is not national cooperation capable of assisting in this kind of distributive justice?  Conversely, should wealthy cities continue to develop concentrically, potentially resulting in less property ownership and greater concentration of wealth?

Ora et Labora

The motto of the Benedictine religious order, one of the earliest religious orders, is Ora et labora, which means, ‘You work, you pray.’

Is it unreasonable to hope for a society where mechanized labor (automation) is reduced, particularly in areas where human labor can create a better system of exchange?

The value of work towards the development of the human person, towards the development of character, can’t easily be overstated, especially for our youth.  Accordingly, when profit isn’t seen as the primary motive behind work, but rather as a means towards human fulfillment, systems of automation could be replaced, allowing more people who are currently unemployed the opportunity to experience a sense of fulfillment from a job well done.  But, this isn’t likely to occur when such systems aren’t helping to distribute wealth, when efficiency and profit are seen as the primary motives behind industry.  Accordingly, this is an area where a capunist oriented government may be able to help by protecting certain jobs, i.e. by establishing and paying wages for certain kinds of work, e.g. work that helps provide basic necessities.  Wouldn’t jobs provided to help support those in a distributive economic system be a superior option to collecting welfare from unemployment, especially if such welfare discourages work?  Furthermore, some kinds of jobs, i.e. those involving physical labor, help a person stay in shape, and there is nothing more valuable than the body we’ve been given… how much more important is work that helps to maintain its beautiful function and fight the risk of cancer?  Did you know that regular exercise is the best preventative means of fighting cancer?

Arguably, economic change won’t occur when production from the private sector is favored over centrally planned production, particularly with respect to commodities that satisfy basic needs.  However, in the case of an economic system that favors corporate ownership, when profit is seen as the primary motive behind production, which encourages machines over human labor as well as wage reductions, a person is less likely to obtain a sustainable wage for a day’s work, wages that may be necessary to support a family, if they find work at all.  And yet, that worker may be aided in having a suitable wage if they a member of a union or minimum wage laws are in place.  Conversely, unions and minimum wage laws won’t work for small businesses unable to meet those demands unless they are part of a larger system of cooperation and exchange.

Thankfully, in many areas of work, there is a need for human labor where mechanized labor is unavailable or unsuitable.  Nonetheless, such work often doesn’t pay well enough for a person to support themselves, let alone a family.  This is often the work involved with agriculture production.  How can a capitalistic, market-based, laissez-faire system correct this situation?  If it cannot, because such a system is inherently profit-motivated, a system with greater central planning is favored, one where certain kinds of work are centrally planned, where such work helps to assure the availability of basic necessities, where the overall good of society may be promoted in that such work allows a man to eventually own a home and support his family, not to mention have adequate time for spiritual and intellectual development.  Thus, without central planning in the development of such jobs, within a distributive approach that values the growth of individuals more than corporations or measures of wealth within a country, such as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), such distributive justice may never come to fruition.

While American government subsidizes crop development, it does not do so with any oversight for the distribution of this means for generating wealth.  Accordingly,
Since 1995, 75 percent of federal subsidies [for food crops] have gone to 10 percent of farms.[36]
This indicates that rather than numerous small farms, which would be more in tune with distributive justice, wherein a greater number of people are directly benefiting and owners or co-owners, there are several large farms generating a lot of wealth.  Should the size of large farms continue to grow as smaller farms are gobbled up?  If our government is contributing to this process, and it is better that more people be allowed ownership of this means of wealth generation, potentially allowing more people a living wage in replacing automation, should there be a change?

Purity of Heart

The hope for the transformation necessary for reform first occurs in the heart.  It is this transformation that motivates a person from apathy to compassion for those less fortunate, a compassion inspired by Him who views Himself as “the least of these.” [37] 

It is this transformation that could motivate an individual, family or company to forfeit control over excess resources, property or wealth that they might otherwise possess in order to help those in need, whether directly through donations or through helping to distribute wealth / the means of wealth of generation.  But, if they wish to do the latter, to whom, or where, might they give such excesses, even as much as everything they possess, should they choose a radical approach in trusting when this transformation of the heart occurs?

Could it be the Church?

Could some already be waiting for this kind of system?

Is this the system we shall expect to see when Christ Jesus returns and rules the nations with an iron rod? [38]

Sacred Scripture informs us that the first followers of Christ Jesus forfeited their property to the Church for the good of all who were baptized members.  If they had not banded together this way, would the early Church have grown as she did?

Taking this model of communal living further, is it unreasonable to assume that Christ, our King, will govern all citizens fairly and effectively?  Eschatologically speaking, we know that this government will eventually exist and reign supreme for 1000 years,[39] a time in which Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit.

Presently, in order for a given society to balance resource use and production, education that eliminates ignorance must also exist, especially ignorance that can lead to prejudice, greed and crime.

When children were “educated” in Nazi Germany, they were taught to foster hate for Jews, to view Jews as lesser human beings.  Today, in other areas of the world, education systems are in place that foster hatred for others based on religion, party affiliation, ethnicity or creed.  In this regard, a state fostering freedom of religion must be careful in ensuring that the beliefs do not inspire hatred or prejudice.  Similarly, the state must protect the right to life of others in defending against false teachings that inspire hatred.

No society can thrive when they’re under threat of military invasion or takeover.  In such cases, it is difficult to justify missionary work and humanitarian aid for the development of that society, one that might otherwise recognize fundamental human rights.  Moreover, if that society is later invaded and members are killed for refusing to accept another form of government with an absent or alternative description of God’s nature, the temporal benefits developed through such work are more readily lost.  However, the spiritual benefits gained for those who received the knowledge that leads to the practice of virtue, even the knowledge of Christ Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, the source of all goodness and virtue, are eternal.

And yet, until those who are already indoctrinated into some form of fostering hatred for others, even believing they’re doing good deeds by committing horrendous crimes against many innocent people, are subdued and incarcerated, educational and economic gains in such lands will be minimal.  And yet, given a military force and well educated citizenry, such lands may actually be the best place to begin the aforementioned economy, perhaps as an extension of the Vatican state, not only because many are already willing to give their life for their heartfelt belief in human dignity and equality before our Creator, but because those effected by such violence are most in need of this kind of change.  Some of the lands that have been so effected, are the lands promised to the Israelites under the Palestinian, or Land Covenant. [40] 

In speaking of education which eliminates those forms of ignorance leading to prejudice, greed and crime, such an education should include a philosophical and theological framework, in addition to those parts aimed at helping in the development of skills necessary for various jobs and trades, especially those that assist in the production, refinement and/or distribution of resources that satisfy basic needs.  With respect to this latter orientation, more students could become educated to be land owners, working in unsettled areas where land is relatively inexpensive, alongside those trained in those areas necessary to complete basic functions of the community.  These areas would eventually become cities, and depending on the amount of surrounding land, future generations would also be able to become landowners without taking on huge amount of debt in the form of educational loans or home mortgages.

Notice however that the philosophical and theological parts of the education are mentioned first.  It is these areas that lead to a reduction in prejudice, greed, drug abuse and crime.  The lack of recognition and support for these areas is one of the major problems with America’s system of public education, as discussed by Harvard Professor Christopher Dawson in “The Crises of Western Education.” [41] 

Without the intellectual and spiritual development that coincides with studying classical humanities and theology, young adults are less likely to acknowledge the existence of the human soul and embrace religious or family life.  Family life is the nucleus of every functioning society.

Such an education also helps abate the effects of advertisements fostering a materialist / consumerist lifestyle.  Sadly, many Americans feel as though they never have enough, though they often have much more than they need.  Similarly, many Americans are not as concerned as they should be with where the products they use came from, such as whether or not slaves were used to produce them, or whether fair wages were paid and workers were treated with dignity.  Along with this mentality, many don’t see the harm involved with the commercial exploitation of sex, prostitution and fornication, not only in regards to the harm inflicted on the goodwill of family life, but on their own soul with respect to the ability of such behavior to separate a person from God and His Church.

In light of these forms of negligence within a failing system, it is understandable why America might be seen by many as the Great Satan. [42]  When so many lose sight of the values commonly taught through religious education, evil more easily supplants right conduct, where evil is defined as the absence of a good that should be there.   Nonetheless, it is always the individuals that compose a society and make up its overall nature.  Have the majority of Americans dismissed the Judeo-Christian roots of their country?  Have they bought the lie of secularism and atheism, a lie that suggests people aren’t wounded in the very core of their being, wounded to such an extent that they too often fail to choose what is good over what is evil, even when they know the difference, and in spite of the suffering such a choice might entail?

Military of a One World Order

If there were one government that ruled the world, wherein standards were enforced that protect basic human rights and the management of natural resources so that basic necessities can be met, there would be less tax expenditures on national defense.  In America, military expenditures consume close to 20% of every tax dollar.  For one thing, reducing the defense budget is one long-term approach to increasing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid budgets so that they may not run out in the next few decades. [43]

By changing an economy so as to free up time for individuals towards spiritual development, or not preventing classical humanist and theological education in public schools, a government would assist in the overall morality of its citizens, thereby improving quality of life in areas where deficits occur due to extreme poverty and crimes relating to ignorance, prejudice, drug abuse and the injustices of sexual immorality.

If human beings are basically good, this work wouldn’t be much of a problem.  But, this is not the case, human beings are stained with Original Sin, our intellects are darkened and we’re prone to use others and things for our own gain, to want far in excess of what we need, to hate our parents and others when we don’t get what we want, to be jealous of the good things others have and potentially kill or steal to obtain them.  We are disposed to indulge in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of riches.

Accordingly, a system like this is doomed to failure without the grace of God, without a revealed knowledge of what is right and good and the gift of the Holy Spirit to seek and enact it.  This type of knowledge and spiritual assistance would correct the crime of abortion, as more and more people realize that every person is made in the image of God, that taking the life of an innocent person is always wrong, a violation of the commandment, “Thou Shalt not Kill!”

Similarly, for the development of the soul, economic and educational reform can go hand in hand, being vital towards the development of the whole person, especially in that they could help reduce the time a person spends in purgatory, i.e. the place of purification after death for those who fear the Lord and do what is right, but only to the extent of the right they know and in relation to whatever lack they have from not welcoming assistance from the Holy Spirit.

Trust, Talents and Treasure

There are two parables that might be worth considering in relation to reform:
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. — Luke 14:28-32
Interestingly, as I was writing this article, shortly after including the above parable, I proceeded to go to Mass, the day being August 11, 2013.  Being conscious of the potential implications of the article, I prayed for guidance.  Here is today’s Gospel reading, taken from Luke 12:32-48:
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
The first parable seemed to affirm my considerations with respect to capunism.  With that kind of economic system, people would be able to sell their possessions and have no worry about their basic necessities, being more disposed to take up the cross of discipleship and work as missionaries, at home and perhaps abroad.

However, they would not truly have a dependence on the Lord, unless we consider that our Lord would be responsible for helping them through the generosity of those who support a system like capunism, or without it, those who help support their church and the missionaries that serve to share their knowledge of Him, even if that knowledge is partial or partially incorrect.

Without a system such as capunism fully functioning, would you be willing to depend on Him or on the hospitality and kindness of others, potentially receiving a few coins now and then as a mendicant Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite, or Augustinian?  Are you ready to depend entirely on God’s providence, perhaps as exhibited by the kindness of others, though other supernatural means are possible?  Either way, our hope should always be to store up those treasures that do not fade away.

If we’re firm in our belief that every person has an immortal human soul, and if we’re confident that the Creator of that soul is fully revealed in the person of Christ Jesus, are we sure we have our priorities straight, as individuals and as a country?

When I heard the second parable, I thought about how the master, who allots a portion of food for the slave, also helps affirm an alternative economic system, like capunism or distributism, wherein the parable applies not only to those of St. Peter’s generation, but to ours as well. Whether I or someone else supports this kind of economic system, someone somewhere would be in charge of allotting a ration of food.

Alternatively, looking back 200 years, might this second parable have been used by a slave owner to continue in the practice of slavery?  Perhaps, but it would not justify treating someone in a way contrary to their dignity and basic rights, one of which is liberty itself.  The U.S. Constitution upholds liberty for all.  Arguably, this is a freedom inspired under God, under Him who made us in His image.

With respect to liberty however, only the saints, particularly those who can subsist on the Eucharist alone, such as Alexandrina de Costa, or perform bilocation, such as Padre Pio or Catherine de’ Ricci, are truly free.  They’re not limited by the physical laws of this world, by basic human needs.

After the Gospel reading, Father went on to discuss a short story by Leo Tolstoy, entitled “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”

This story describes a man who, in the midst of a wealthy land owner, feels great anguish over having so little, not realizing the blessings of a simple life, such as a home and a family full of love.  In his anguish, he is visited by the devil.  The devil tells him he can have as much land as he wants, all he has to do is circumscribe it by walking around it, starting at sunset, providing he is able to return to where he started, by morning.

The man agrees.  However, in his greed, in walking for so long to cover so much distance while walking east and north, by the time he turns west the morning is almost upon him.  He runs hard until he reaches the southern corner and then sprints at full speed, as fast as his legs can carry him.  He gets closer and closer to the finish, so close he can almost taste all the wealth he’ll have.  But, his body has something else in mind.  Being overwhelmed by physical stress, the man collapses, his heart stops, he dies.

In the end, Tolstoy tells us how much land a man really needs, about three by six feet, underground.

Father continued his homily.  After reinforcing the importance of placing our priorities on the things of God, as opposed to accumulating wealth and the material things of this world, all of which will eventually perish, he went on to reread the Gospel from last week:
Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’ (Luke 12:13-21)
A very fitting reading to help motivate each of us to evaluate our priorities, wouldn’t you agree?  Perhaps it’s best to keep things simple, reaching out to those in need in some way each day.  Perhaps if we take an annual vacation, we’ll consider combining it with a mission trip, visiting a new area with people who are in need of assistance.  Maybe we can help by building a home for someone homeless.
“It would take “a clear and conscious philosophy” to build a distributist society, not a philosophy of broken and leftover ideas. The first clear and conscious idea would be to recognize that money is not the most important thing. It is the means and not the end. The end is a quiet, happy home. It is many small places with many local heroes.”186

Small Settlements

Perhaps you agree with much of what I’ve written.  Perhaps you plan to make a difference in a small way today.  Perhaps, however, you’re also interested in building a home amidst like-minded neighbors.

From a small-scale enactment standpoint, new settlements could be started throughout the United States and abroad where land is available and inexpensive, where the laws and economic system may be designed to better reflect the culture of the individuals who compose it.  Likewise, interested parties can pool their wealth together to purchase inexpensive land and the resources necessary to develop their own cities, thereby retaining a larger share of ownership, which is another aim of distributism. Generally speaking, the more land you buy at one time, the cheaper it is.  Thus, singles, families and those devoted to religious life are better off joining together in establishing new communities.  Furthermore, within the next century, as oil and gas resources are diminished, assuming Jesus does not return beforehand, city planning that allows for alternative forms of transportation behooves us.  Should we be prepared to saddle up?

Consider that if a student can take out a loan for thousands of dollars to get an advanced education, they may also be granted a loan to be an active part of a developing community, perhaps learning a trade or vocation important for that community.  As they exercise their skill, the wealth of the community increases.  With such an endowment, not only would they avoid accumulating excessive debt they may not be able to begin paying off until long after graduation, but they could secure for themselves land and property so that they’d never be homeless.

With respect to employment, is a low unemployment rate more important for a society than its church attendance rate?  If a society develops around the belief that every person has a soul, is not the church attendance rate more important than the unemployment rate?

With respect to the capabilities of a social network, Pure Heart Cities could first develop virtually.  Such networks could assist in the formation of settlements by matching a person’s talents, skills, education and interests with the needs of a developing city.  Such a network could provide assistance in the formation of trusts geared towards the purchase of land, equipment and other resources necessary for land, residential and commercial development.

Since land would be relatively inexpensive in an unsettled territory, many families would be able to own homesteads or cooperate in tending large pieces of land agriculturally, allowing many to grow their own fruits, nut, vegetables, even tend livestock.  These kinds of experiences are valuable in providing insights into the majesty of the Creator and the beauty of His creation, and they often provide a source of physical labor that keeps the body in shape.  In contrast, the cost of living in an established city often precludes land ownership beyond a fourth to an eighth of an acre, with the cost of an education and a decent home prohibitive for many without assuming significant, even life-long, debt.

With respect to declining population growth, as discussed by George Friedman in “Global Decline and the Great Economic Reversal,” agriculturally based societies offer hope.
“In agricultural and low-level industrial societies, children are a productive asset. Children can be put to work at the age of six doing agricultural work or simple workshop labor. Children become a source of income, and the more you have the better. Just as important, since there is no retirement plan other than family in such societies, a large family can more easily support parents in old age. In a mature urban society, the economic value of children declines. In fact, children turn from instruments of production into objects of massive consumption.   . . . Children cost a tremendous amount of money with limited return, if any, for parents.  Thus, people have fewer children.” [44]
Arguably, most parents would prefer to stay at home while working through the challenges of advanced age, being cared for by their children, or trusted loved ones, when necessary, rather than strangers while living in another home or long-term care facility.  In Pure Heart Cities, social services for aging loved ones could be subsidized through the wealth of the city.

Debatably, with dwindling Social Security and Medicare funds, younger generations would be wise to plan for retirement through participating in self-sustaining communities where children and those of religious orders might assist one another as advanced age sets in.  Similarly, if those with a desire for a pure heart coalesce, singles, families and religious communities would have the benefit of living with likeminded neighbors.  Eventually, the benefits readily available in well-established cities, such as access to various restaurants serving different cuisines, entertainment choices, products and services, would emerge as the city develops.

Furthermore, laws regulating the local economy could be enacted to protect in-network farmers and small business owners from being consumed by competition with large-scale corporations.  Additionally, guilds could secure many of the benefits corporations experience through strong purchasing power and community recognition.

With respect to conscience protection, laws could be enacted so that workers in executive positions don’t have to jeopardize their livelihood.  This would help to correct those situations where business owners or healthcare providers are faced with fines or unemployment for failing to conform to government mandates or corporate policies that require performing services or dispensing products that can result in the destruction of innocent human life.

Similarly, positive laws could be enacted to uphold the values of citizens.  Such laws could include outlawing the production, distribution or use of immoral or unethical products or services, such as those involving pornography, fornication, exploitation or slavery-like work conditions.[45]  They could also regulate usury, encourage stock ownership for guilds or businesses that pay dividends and operate according to principles aligned with the Magisterium, such as those that may be found through Ave Maria Mutual Funds.  Such laws could also govern the extent of property ownership and use, in order to benefit all members of the city, as well as education about God and Salvation History in “public” schools.

Self-Defense of Pure Heart Cities

In light of basic human rights, rights endowed by a Creator and shared among all human beings, if Pure Heart Cities are established in areas where there is political or economic disorder, where crimes against human rights are frequently committed, a strong militia will be necessary to defend the city and potentially establish order in the surrounding areas.  Such a mentality offers a long-term solution to areas ravaged by violence and greed, where material and educational resources are lacking.  Similarly, unless there is a vested interest in establishing order in these areas in order to correct deep seated errors rooted in ignorance and prejudice, attempts at reform are often futile.  This futility can be seen in many areas of the Middle East where more violent groups replace those preceding them.

In many respects, a mentality of establishing order through a militia is similar to that of the “Machine Gun Preacher,” a construction worker who’s labored to establish an orphanage where Sudanese children may be safe from rebel forces led by Joseph Kony.  While the long-term success of his endeavor may be limited due to a lack of support and a vested interest in establishing communities surrounding the orphanage, the need for a military for defense in areas like these is made apparent through his documentary. [46] 

With respect to this consideration, if someday there are Pure Heart Cities established in the most terrorized, crime ridden area of the world, perhaps they’ll also be known as Republics of Glorification, a name reminiscent of the hope that all citizens can freely glorify their Creator, free to learn and study His nature from different viewpoints, free to sanctify each day’s work to Him, i.e. to love.
Additional Resources. [47] [48] [49] [50]

[1] Rev. Bruce, Alexander; Dods, Marcus; Nicoll, Robertson.  The Expositor’s Greek Testament.  Volume 1 & 2.  Hodder and Stoughton.  London, NY, Toronto.  Pg. 583.  Also online: https://books.google.com/books?id=G5cRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA583

[2] Ibid. pg. 585

[3] Ibid. pg. 586

[4] Ibid. pg. 586;  Also: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/16-10.htm

[5] Matthew 5:8 (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.)

[6] A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.  EWTN DVD.  2016

[7] Pope Leo XIII.  Encyclical: On Socialism.  sec. 8.  Accessed 10/29-2016.  Online.  https://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_28121878_quod-apostolici-muneris.pdf

[8] Goodman, Donald P.  Distributism: A Catholic System of Economics.  Goretti Publications.  2006.  Online. http://mtm.ufsc.br/~mcarvalho/DISTRIBUTISM.pdf

[9] Gordon, John Steele.  Mephistopheles of Wall Street.  American Heritage.  December 1989, Volume 40, Issue 8.  Online.  http://www.americanheritage.com/content/mephistopheles-wall-street

[10] Wikipedia contributors. “Occupy Wall Street.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Feb. 2016. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

[11] Ahlquist, Dale.  G.K. Chesterton’s Distributism.  The Distributist Review.  11 August 2011.  Online.  http://distributistreview.com/g-k-chestertons-distributism/

[12] Ibid, Goodman.

[13] The Book of Revelation, 20:3.

[14] Dr. Cernea, Anca-Maria.  Address to the bishops at the Vatican’s 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family.

[15] Spitzer, J. Robert, Ph.D.  Suffering, Love and Eternal Life.  Magis Center of Reason and Faith.  Online. http://www.magiscenter.com/pdf/Suffering_Love_and_Eternal_Life.pdf

[16] The Five Functions of Government.  The Mandate.  22 April 2008.  Online.  http://www.forerunner.com/mandate/X0043_Five_Functions_of_Go.html

[17] Murphy, Caryle.  Most Americans believe in heaven… and hell.  FactTank: News in the Numbers, PewResearchCenter.  10, November 2015.  Online.

[18] Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life.  Religious Landscape Study.  Online.  http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/

[19] Lumen Gentium, Chapter II (Section 16) in Vatican Council II Vol. 1: The Conciliar and Postconciliar Documents trans. by Austin Flannery (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company), 1975, p.376.

[20] How many Roman Catholics are there in the world.  BBC.  14 March 2014.  Web.  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-21443313

[21] Wikipedia contributors. “Eastern Orthodox Church.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Feb. 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

[22] Wikipedia contributors. “Protestantism by country.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Jan. 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

[23] Ibid, Akin, Jimmy.

[24] Keating, Karl.  Peter the Rock.  Catholic Answers: To Explain & Defend the Faith.  Online.  http://www.catholic.com/tracts/peter-the-rock

[25] Should Abortion Be Legal?  ProCon.org  http://abortion.procon.org/#Background

[26] See “Petition to the United States Congress: An Ode to Joy for America’s Missionaries and Her “Life-Affirming” Republic” (Vol. 1)

[27] Shadow, Crimson 1999.  City of Angels –Lyrics (Under the Bridge) Red Hot Chilli Peppers.  YouTube.  Online.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uruBMEookc

[28] Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. –Colossians 3:23-24

[29] Pacepa, Lt. Gen Ion Mihai; Rychlak, Ronald.  Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism.  WND Books.  25, June 2013.  Print

[30] Wikipedia contributors. “Voter turnout in the United States presidential elections.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

[31] Numbers 17:8

[32] One-Simple-Idea.  Environment. Online.  http://one-simple-idea.com/Environment1.htm

[33] Matthew 17:20

[34] Newsweek Staff.  The World’s Most Barbaric Punishments.  Newsweek.  7 August 2010.  Online.  http://www.newsweek.com/worlds-most-barbaric-punishments-74537

[35] Investopedia.  What methods can the government use to control inflation?  Online.  http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/111314/what-methods-can-government-use-control-inflation.asp

[36] Urry, Amelia.  Our crazy farm subsidies, explained.  Grist.  April 20th, 2015.  Online.  http://grist.org/food/our-crazy-farm-subsidies-explained/

[37] Matthew 25:40

[38] The Book of Revelation, 2:26-27.

[39] What is the purpose of the thousand-year reign of Christ?  GotQuestions?org.  Online.  http://www.gotquestions.org/thousand-year-reign-Christ.html

[40] What is the Palestinian Land Covenant?  GotQuestions?org.  Online.  http://www.gotquestions.org/Palestinian-covenant.html

[41] Dawson, Christopher.  The Crises of Western Education.  New York: Sheed and Ward, 1961. Print.

[42] Wikipedia contributors. “Great Satan.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 Jan. 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

[43] Lange, Jason.  Main fund for Medicare program to run out of money in 2030: trustees.  Reuters.  22 July 2015.  Online.  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fiscal-health-idUSKCN0PW21720150723

[44] Friedman, George.  Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal.  Geopolitical Weekly.  17 February 2015.  Online.  https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/population-decline-and-great-economic-reversal

[45] Slave-Made Goods by Country: A List from the Department of Labor.  United States Department of Labor.  Online.  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/

[46] Machine Gun Preacher.  Act: Butler, Gerard; Monaghan, Michelle.  Dir: Forster, Marc.  Relativity Media.  5 June 2012.  DVD

[47] Catholic Economics, Part 1: The Distorted History of Capitalism. DANIEL SCHWINDT.  org, Accessed 2-19-15.  http://www.aleteia.org/en/politics/article/catholic-economics-part-1-the-distorted-history-of-capitalsim-6091003333181440

[48] Note on financial reform from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. 2011-10-24 Vatican Radio.  Accessed 2/19/15.  http://www.news.va/en/news/full-text-note-on-financial-reform-from-the-pontif

[49] The Pope, the President, and Social Doctrine. RUSSELL SHAW.  org, Accessed 2-19-15.  http://www.aleteia.org/en/politics/article/the-pope-the-president-and-social-doctrine-5778473763209216

[50] Distributism 3. The third installment on Distributism, the socio-economic movement started by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, inspired by the Catholic social encyclicals.  GenFerrer1 on YouTube, Accessed 2/19/15.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOFvZO3CRko

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