Doug Wilson, the apostle Paul and bad economics

He’s done it again, with a sharp pen and elbow, Doug Wilson has wound me up. Fortunately for me, I’m right and he’s wrong. I think.

In this post (HT: Andrew Wilson) Wilson poses a thought experiment where you can double the incomes and welfare of the least but in doing do increase the wealth of the richest tenfold at the push of a button. He ends with this,

“This is your ethical “dilemma,” and part of your test is whether or not you even think of it as a dilemma. Would you refuse to push that button out of hard principle? Would you push it, but with a guilty conscience? Or would you, like me, push it while whistling a cheerful air, with your hat on the side of your head?

If you would not push it, or if you would push it reluctantly, then that urgent yearning for social justice that you feel all the time in your gut is not compassion at all, but cancerous envy. It is evil. It is a deadly sin that must be mortified. You don’t love the poor at all — you hate the rich, and you want to use the poor as a club. And why would this malevolent genie want to take your precious club away?”

On all counts I think Wilson is wrong. His over simplistic statements make too many assumptions and presumptions. First that poverty is an absolute and never relative, Wilson thinks he’s dealt with absolute poverty so everyone should be happy. But by massively widening and increasing relative poverty he creates plenty more problems.

Here are ten reasons to care about inequality, and five causes of inequality, one economist  (HT: Freakonomics) who says, “There is perhaps some sort of failure in how our system is working.” For more on the ills of social inequality read The Spirit Level.

From my review of the above book, here is the result of greater social equality, “In more equal societies there is less crime so the money spent on prisons could be spent on education. In more equal societies there is less obesity and all its health related issues and the money could be spent on better transport and so on and on. Equality reduces crime, teenage pregnancy etc..and allows a society to continue to invest in the quality of life of the nation.”

What Wilson does is actually make a bad situation worse but pretend it’s better by simply looking at the bottom line. It’s the same reason that many millionaires don’t feel wealthy and why this commenter can say that someone earning $150k a year is struggling.

And lastly of course Wilson’s magic button has replaced the apostle Paul’s magic remedy: generosity. That it is the wealth of the rich (generously and freely given) that relieves the burden of the poor.

“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (2Cor 8:13-14)

Which brings us to a more equal situation wouldn’t you say?


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11 Thoughts to “Doug Wilson, the apostle Paul and bad economics”

  1. Does the button also cause consumption to go up in proportion with income, and result in runaway climate change?

    1. I’d hazard a guess that Wilson thinks climate change is bunk, so I doubt it!

  2. Rey Jacobs

    Social ‘justice’ is not justice — it is injustice.  Robbing from the working class to feed the crack-heads.  Charity is all fine and good.  If you love the poor so much, give them YOUR money.  Don’t steal mine to give to them.  I don’t subscribe to the asinine economics of the Catholic gospel-writer who put into Jesus’ mouth the idiotic command to  “give to everyone who asks” and “lend and don’t ask for them to return.”  That’s insane.  You’d go broke.  Rather, I follow the economics of Jesus Ben-Sira (apocryphal book of Sirach/Ecclesiasticus) when he says (chapter 12 I think, but go look it up) “When you would do benevolence, know first to whom you are going to give.  Help the righteous but do not help the sinner.  Hold back your bread from he sinner lest he overmaster you thereby, and lest you receive double the evil for the good you do him for the Lord hateth the sinner and reserveth him for destruction.”

    1. You seem very angry at someone Rey. Your logic is a bit odd on the teachings of Jesus. You claim a Catholic inserted words into the mouth of Jesus yet Catholics also except the apocrypha as scripture which evangelicals don’t. So your understanding is more Catholic that way! 

  3. Rey Jacobs

    You say Paul has a magic solution: generosity.  Yet Paul says “If a man will not work he will not eat.”  This is the opposite of our welfare system which rewards only the crack-heads and the unwed mothers who occupy themselves in nothing but fornication, popping out the bastards to get a check from uncle Sam, to be paid for their sins.

  4. Rey Jacobs

    If the ‘poor’ would stop wasting their money on crack, on cigarrettes, on booze, on hookers.  If the ‘poor’ would stop having babies out of wedlock.  Well, maybe, just maybe, they would be able to get out of poverty.  The only generosity that the fake ‘poor’ need is a kick in the pants and to be told to stop sucking the magic teat of faith-alone and start living right morally, because that’s the path out of poverty.

  5. Rey Jacobs

    And everyone who says otherwise should burn in hell for being a servant of the devil.

    1. That’s not a very gracious statement Rey. How many times should you forgive?

  6. Rey Jacobs

    Actually today the ‘poor’ probably also waste their money on viagra and condoms.

  7. Rey Jacobs

    I know the ‘poor’ have the latest cell phones and unlimited data plans.  Not to mention cable TV which I don’t have.

  8. Rey Jacobs

    “Equality reduces crime, teenage pregnancy etc..and allows a society to continue to invest in the quality of life of the nation.”

    Yes, just give all the sluts a million dollars and they won’t have sex anymore.  Idiots!  You don’t make sluts into respectable girls by giving them money.  Rather, respectable girls avoid poverty by not getting knocked-up!

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