Friday, June 01, 2012

Modern-Day Predestinarianism

Why do so many middle-class Americans give their support to the fabulously wealthy so completely? The usual explanation is that Americans hope to become fabulously rich themselves, and want to benefit from favorable tax policies and other benefits when they get there. But this view truly underestimates the intelligence of the American people; they are not so deluded as to think that they will ever benefit personally from such policies.

So what is it then?

No, not Hopkins--George Whitefield.
I posit that it is the modern version of the New Divinity, whose greatest exponent was the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, that over-enthusiastic follower of the great Calvinist preacher Jonathan Edwards. Edwards clearly explained that the overwhelming majority of humanity were predestined for hell, that only a tiny fraction were among the Elect. But that was perfectly okay, since human beings were such insignificant, loathsome insects in comparison with God that they merited damnation, and should be eternally grateful just to be part of God's plan. 

Hopkins reduced Edwards'system of theology to a simple, terrifying question:

 "Are you willing to be damned  for the greater glory of God?"

The gulf between the modern Elect and the rest of us is nearly as unfathomable as the distance between the sinner and his angry God. We'll never achieve Mitt's status, and we know it.  "I don't care about the very poor"--and why should he? We should be grateful to have the opportunity simply to glorify him and his fellow heavenly beings.

So the basic principle of the New New divinity:

"Are you willing to be damned for the greater glory of the One Percent?"


2 comments:

Elektra Tig said...

Rob,

I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree. Such arguments simply baffle me. Private capital, not government, drives creativity, economic development and job production. I'll take Bain Capital over Solyndra every time.

Rob said...

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country." --Thomas Jefferson