David Bentley Hart is always interesting. His piece Mammon Ascendant, why global capitalism is inimical to Christianity is excellent in detail. If his analysis is meant to be descriptive rather that prescriptive, it concludes on the tonic. A few unresolved themes hang in the air. It's often said that capitalism is only tolerable because it's better than the alternatives. The alternative that Hart suggests, in a faint echo after his symphony, is E. F. Schumacher's economics of the small. Circa 1975, a lot of people applauded the beauty of Schumacher's small, but any serious discussion had to deal with the facts: then or now, without capital-intensive industrialization, the planet would not have begun to sustain the billions living on it. Then, we still heard the clamor of Ehrlich and his ilk. Now Microsoft and Amazon are staffed by Indians and Chinese, then supposedly beyond even a merciless life-boat ethic. Now, the research-funding dependent class is fear mongering about inundation while the evidence indicates a lifting of all boats.
For my money, earned mostly at Microsoft, I'll hold out for the nation-state against global capitalism and its culture annihilating crescendo. Crony capitalism has ominously domesticated government as a mute on it's roar, but technology is effectively amplifying the counterpoint. Tim Berners Lee is Gutenberg for our time; the Internet can make another Reformation. Bloggers are explaining, against pharmaceuticals-industry propaganda, that the FDA is more of a health hazard than global warming. If the chattering classes were deaf to the recent populist revolt, it was everywhere evident on social media. The Russians who were involved must be very good! They can even influence ballot recounts in the precincts in Michigan that so embarrassed Democrats.
It's not government that is the problem, but Reagan was close to the truth. When an aristocracy thrives in government and controls the economy and culture, it dampens any resonance in subsidiary organizations and flattens community. The Republican party maintains some of the coalition among conservatives that rallies people against the elites who would orchestrate everything to their tune. Democrats, and their dupes in the main-line Protestant hierarchies, are still living in what Hart describes as nostalgia for the idiot happiness of the early cultural revolution. In matters of religion and public life, the aristocracy of the Protestant mainline resembles the sycophantic clergy of the old British monarchy. Social justice mandates of Hebrew prophets, which they are eager emulate, turn into advocacy for socialism in effect. Democrats like to remind us of the deficits Reagan inflicted after a foray into supply-side economics, while defense spending increased to more than neuter any effect of what George Gilder calls releasing the knowledgeable from the powerful. Somebody needs to continually remind the social justice crowd that their rhetoric laid waste large areas of the earth and its people for most of the twentieth century.