Friday, February 03, 2012

Just 'cause you can't read without moving your lips doesn't mean you aren't able to extract a ringing endorsement of capitalism from the Bible


by Ken

And the best thing is, when you find it, the Wall Street Journal will print your name and give you money! How sweet is that? The system works!

I'm guessing this Rabbi Aryeh Spero is the kind of prince whose life work has been spreading anti-Semitism. No, not fighting anti-Semitism, spreading it. I mean, who wouldn't hate a miserable lying sack of doody like this? Your average street-level sex worker, by comparison, is at least providing a useful service, especially by comparison with a wackadoodle clergywhore who interprets his calling from God as a mandate to provide blowjobs for deep-pocketed economic predators.

I almost wrote "deep-pocketed economic predators who are the object of their God's wrath," and officially this is probably true, since not many religions can afford to be caught fronting for the avatars of greed and selfishness. The reality, though, is that it's the grandees of greed who keep nearly all religions going, and in more cases than note provide their reason for being -- they're just not supposed to talk about that.

But I haven't told you yet what I'm talking about. OK, folks, it's time for you to meet the good rabbi, courtesy of Catherine Rampell yesterday on the NYT's Economix blog.
February 2, 2012, 1:40 PM
What Else Does the Bible Teach About Capitalism?


Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by Rabbi Aryeh Spero titled “What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism,” which argued that Americans should laud Mitt Romney’s private equity career.

An outline of his reasoning: The United States was founded upon “the Judeo-Christian ethos,” and within that ethos “resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.”

The Bible and related Judaic-Christian teaching are pro-capitalist, he argues, because God’s people are told to work and encouraged to be creative (which could be read as entrepreneurial), and because the Tenth Commandment forbids envy (including envy of the 1 percent). Additionally, Rabbi Spero notes, “King Solomon’s thriving kingdom crashed once his son decided to impose onerous taxes.”

Whatever capitalism’s merits, I’m not sure hanging its moral legitimacy on Jewish Scripture is such a solid plan. The Holy Book also conveys plenty of ideas that are anti-capitalist and anti-free-market.

Deuteronomy 23:19, for example, orders: “Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.” “Foreigners” can be charged interest, however. Exactly who counts as a foreigner has fueled centuries of debate, and at least one Shakespearean play. (That play, “The Merchant of Venice” was home to the line “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” by the way.)

Additionally, a biblical prohibition against “taking advantage” of the person on the other side of a sale was interpreted by ancient rabbis to mean that sellers were permitted a profit margin that was no greater than one-sixth of a good’s selling price. Any markup beyond that had to be returned to the buyer.

That restriction might not go over very well in private equity circles.

The one thing we can be grateful for is that the rabbi, being a rabbi, isn't pretending to be speaking in the name of Jesus, who has suffered the cosmic indignity of having millions of sociopathic Crap Christian power-mongers pretending to be speaking in his name when in fact they devote all their energies to making a mockery of everything he believed and preached.

Of course the right-wing Crap Christians have been working overtime on a modern mistranslation of the Bible to reinvent Jesus as One of Their Own, a really macho monger of war and hate. It's a piece of cake, actually, as long as you rewrite everything the poor guy is reputed ever to have said or done. Luckiily, modern-day right-wingers believe they were born with a divine mandate to lie their putrid guts out.

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At 12:09 AM, Anonymous pharris said...

And Satan was cast out from Heaven for proposing a capital gains tax.


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