Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Charles Sanders Peirce on the Gospel of Greed

 Here, then, is the issue. The gospel of Christ says that progress comes from every individual merging his individuality in sympathy with his neighbors. On the other side, the conviction of the nineteenth century is that progress takes place by virtue of every individual's striving for himself with all his might and trampling his neighbor under foot whenever he gets a chance to do so. This may accurately be called the Gospel of Greed.

Here. 

24 comments:

B. Prokop said...

Confessing up front that I only read part one of the linked essay and merely scanned the remainder, I find little to disagree with but much that I wish was phrased quite a bit differently. Rather than "merging our individuality" I would have preferred "submitting our will to others". I would have emphasized Mark 15:31, where "those who passed by" mocked Our Lord on the Cross, saying "He saved others; Himself He cannot save!" For what was said in mockery was prophetically true. We must expend our lives to save others. We are utterly powerless to save ourselves, whilst those around us rely on us to save them. Their job, in turn, is to save us. As St. Paul wrote, we must "bear one another's burdens, thus fulfilling the Law of Christ."

Legion of Logic said...

Is wanting the government's hand out of your paycheck so you can provide for your family, friends, and neighbors as you deem appropriate, and donate as much to whatever church or cause you want to voluntarily support, putting others ahead of yourself or obeying the "gospel of greed"?

Mortal said...

Legion,

My answer to your question would be that of St. Paul: "It depends". I don't subscribe to any absolutist ideology on taxation. I do not regard it as "the government's hand in my paycheck" as long as I live under a representative democracy in which government policy is a genuine reflection of the people's will. But for those living under a plutocracy (as in Putin's Russia or Trump's United States), then the issue is a bit more problematic.

But even Paul, who lived under a fairly autocratic regime (the Roman Empire), admonished Christians to "Pay all [authorities] their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due."

But note his qualifier "to whom [whatever] is due." (In like manner, he wrote "If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all," the admonition being doubly qualified up front.)

So the principle is a two-way street. We citizens are obliged to support civic society, but the authorities are obliged to be worthy of our support.

Legion of Logic said...

I certainly don't advocate avoiding paying taxes that are due, but I see nothing wrong with voting to have fewer taxes in order to retain personal control over the money you earn, particularly in a bloated and inefficient government. (For theoretical purposes here, my person in the example would actually use his money for the things I listed.)

Ilíon said...

Greedy!

Joe Hinman said...

Mortal. excellent comments.

Joe Hinman said...

Legion of Logic said...
I certainly don't advocate avoiding paying taxes that are due, but I see nothing wrong with voting to have fewer taxes in order to retain personal control over the money you earn, particularly in a bloated and inefficient government. (For theoretical purposes here, my person in the example would actually use his money for the things I listed.)

to he who has been given much Much is required.why should't corporation sand the 1%
way a fair share? ~45 wants to cut taxes m half on corporate taxes so that we have an excuse to eliminate social programs to make it up. But why should business not pay a fair share?
don't say because it detours investment it does not. many studies prove that.

Reagan era tax cuts did not lead to jobs, they re invested out of the country,or im nnon laborintesive areas.

Legion of Logic said...

Joe,

I wasn't talking about corporations, but an individual. Also, what is a fair share, and how do we know?

Mortal said...

Joe,

Thanks for that. Far too many people, when reading St. Paul, fail to notice his care in recognizing the "real world" when giving much of his advice on how a Christian (or a Christian community) ought to act. An even starker example than the two quoted above is how he handles relations between husband and wife. Those irredeemably superficial readers who believe that women have somehow been given the short end of the stick in Paul's letters have simply failed to read various passages in context (or even to read the entire passage).

Legion,

You ask, "What is a fair share, and how do we know?" Good questions! And I believe that questions like that are precisely what Paul is telling us to ask, when he brings up the need for the authorities to be worthy of our taxes. I shudder to write this, but it sure looks like he's embracing the idea of political debate. That's how we determine what a fair share is.

Joe,

Corporations do not pay taxes - the customer does. The tax is simply added to the cost of whatever the corporation is selling. That's what trump doesn't seem to understand when he says Mexico can pay for his wall through tariffs, etc. Because who pays those tariffs? The customer, not the importer! So his proposal is basically saying let the American people pay for his wall through our purchases.

Ilíon said...

LoL: "Also, what is a fair share ...?"

More!

LoL: "... and how do we know?"

If there is still anyone trying to disguise his covetous envy to take what you have as "concern" about your "greed" then we know that you are still not "paying your fair share".

Mortal said...

Ilion,

Do you dispute my interpretation of St. Paul? The way I read it, he has legitimized political debate over the issue ("taxes to whom taxes are due" means we must determine to whom they are due, and how much is due). The proper answer to "Where do we draw the line?" is not at one of two extremes, but somewhere in the middle. Unless I am misunderstanding you, you seem to regard all taxation as violence and theft.

Joe Hinman said...

Joe,

Corporations do not pay taxes - the customer does. The tax is simply added to the cost of whatever the corporation is selling. That's what trump doesn't seem to understand when he says Mexico can pay for his wall through tariffs, etc. Because who pays those tariffs? The customer, not the importer! So his proposal is basically saying let the American people pay for his wall through our purchases.

April 27, 2017 5:42 AM

the way it works now....

Joe Hinman said...

Mortal meets Idion, where's the popcorn?

Joe Hinman said...


If there is still anyone trying to disguise his covetous envy to take what you have as "concern" about your "greed" then we know that you are still not "paying your fair share".

all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of Idion

Ilíon said...

Mortal,
I dispute that you are any more intellectually honest than Joe Hinman is. And I don't waste my time trying to convince fools (*) to connect their willfully chosen error(s).

(*) As I constantly point out, 'fool' does not mean 'stupid' or 'moron'; it means "willfully behaving as though one were too stupid to understand some matter or other". 'Fool' is a moral assertion (specifically, that the accused is willfully lacking in morality in some important way), not a denigration of the other's intellect.

Ilíon said...

Joe Hindmost: "Mortal meets Idion, where's the popcorn?"

Look at that pathetic -- and derivative -- creature.

He is to *taken* with me -- so wants my attention and so wants to be like me -- that he has latched onto my quirk of inventing editorial nicknames for others' screen-names ... and the best he can come up with is to try to turn 'Ilíon' into 'idiot'.

Now, there is some deep thinking.

But, consider this, Gentle Reader, if that fool really did believe that I am an idiot, then he is condemning his soul by constantly trying to antagonize me. For after all, were I truly an idiot, then I could not help myself that I am (according to the fool) constantly in error. The point about an idiot is that he is incapable of understanding the truth of the matter.

This is how I *know* that the people I finally designate as 'fools' are, indeed, fools. They are not idiots, and yet they persist in insisting upon some error or other, no matter how carefully and how patiently the error is pointed out and explained: it is willful refusal to embrace the truth, not stupidity, that explains such behavior.

Ilíon said...

Here is something St Paul said that Mortal and such ilk love to ignore --
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you,

nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.

And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed.

Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
"

Mortal said...

And I don't waste my time trying to convince fools (*) to connect their willfully chosen error(s).

Well, I guess that I'll have to just resign myself to a life of ignorance then, because I have no idea what your thoughts are on St. Paul's admonitions about paying taxes to a government worthy of our support. You say that I am not only in error, but am deliberately so. But how can this be, since I have no idea where or how I am (at least, according to you) in error?

Joe: My entertainment snack of choice is not popcorn, but nachos - with lots of jalapenos.

Mortal said...

Ilion,

The passages you quoted from Thessalonians have, as far as I can tell, nothing to do with taxation.

Ilíon said...

The taxation that you puppets-of-the-left are trying to declare that we -- free citizens of a federal republic rather than conquered subjects of a militaristic empire -- have no moral right to oppose ans work to decrease have nothing to do with the legitimate functions of government. Rather, it's all about some people, the politically connected, living at the expense of everyone else -- you people want to eat without working, and you want to pretend that I have a moral obligation to let you hire "the government" to rob me a gunpoint and give the swag to you.

Mortal said...

You know, I have no idea what you are talking about. First of all, I am no "leftist," and secondly, I work for what I eat. Why do you presume otherwise? From zero evidence, by the way?

So from your latest comment, I must conclude one of two things:

1) You think you know better than the Holy Spirit, when He inspired St. Paul to instruct the Romans to pay their lawful taxes to whatever authority is worthy of their reception.

Alternatively,

2) You are nuts.

Mortal said...

to rob me at gunpoint

"[The authorities do] not bear the sword in vain." (Romans 13:4)

No mention of guns, so swords will have to do.

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

Allow me to come to Ilion's defense here. He and I have had some fairly serious difference on this site, but I in no way believe him to be "nuts". Ilion's problem is he expresses (and perhaps even sees) everything in terms of politics - specifically, in terms of right versus left. Which in his mind equates to Good versus Evil. But even here, many of his views are off the chart in terms of extremism. He equates all taxation to "robbing me at gunpoint" and seems to regard government itself as fundamentally evil. He apparently doesn't realize it, but he is an unconscious disciple of the atheist Ayn Rand. We've discussed this at length for several years now. He basically calls me a "bloody minded leftist" and I remind him that he has yet to repudiate Hell's own governing constitution. At this point, I regard both accusations as affectionate banter.

But beyond that, Ilion's head is basically screwed on straight. His comments on the ongoing woeful collapse of Western Civilization are mostly spot on (other than his habitual and wrong-headed blaming of everything on "leftists"). His website Iliocentrism is well worth a visit. His arguments for the truth of Christianity are, in my humble opinion, unassailable. (I've freely plagiarized them on occasion.) Our views on the historicity of the Gospels are pretty much the same. We do differ a bit on the nature of Church authority and on certain other quibbling matters of Biblical interpretation.

But "nuts?" No way. You dismiss Ilion's commentary at your peril. There is much gold to be mined amidst all that ore.