Yes, there is corruption in corporate America. We agree on that point. However the corruption on Wall Street isn’t due to the wealth of the 1%. But rather it is due to the universal corruption, self-centeredness and greed of the 100%. The Wall Street protesters are demanding that what the wealthy have should be given to them, and what drives them is nothing less than their own self-centeredness and greed, or in Biblical language, “covetousness.” That is, “I want what you have.”
Another valid point of the present demonstrations is bringing attention to the unholy alliance of government and business –crony capitalism. On that point, we also agree. To have a business community of self-centered human beings joined by a government community of self-centered human beings can only produce a powerful force of self-centered human beings –tyranny.
However the solution is not compulsory redistribution of wealth dictated by self-centered, greedy human beings using the force of government to take from others what they want for themselves. (Remember the French Revolution?) The answer is not legislation; it is leadership –moral leadership.
Government imposed re-distribution of wealth has never worked. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis told us, the choice is between the unequal sharing of blessings and the equal sharing of miseries. All one has to do is look to the former Soviet Union, the present condition of Cuba, or the unfolding situation in Europe to see where that economic philosophy takes us.
The answer is not in neo-communism, anarchy or in the rejection of our founding principles, but rather in the re-affirmation of those principles that undergird a virtuous society –capitalism framed by a Christian ethic.
We need moral leadership that will be able to effectively communicate the fact that we are one nation, under God, blessed with peace and prosperity as no other nation has ever known. And as such, we have a responsibility to help the less fortunate among us, not through the force of law, but by free and willing hearts, by corporations and wealthy people -the 1%- giving to charitable organizations, and their respective communities of faith to feed the hungry, and care for the poor.
However, for this to happen, there must be a genuine spiritual revival that will produce a new breed of selfless Americans who will be willing to sacrifice for others because they know the One who sacrificed for them. That’s the history of our nation. It’s the answer to our current dilemma. During the Second Great Awakening of the mid 19th century, Charles Finney’s Benevolent Empire, a coalition of institutions dedicated to caring for the material needs of the poor, had a budget that nearly equaled the size of the federal government’s budget.
The answer isn’t one group of corrupt individuals demanding the goods of another group of corrupt individuals. The answer is in the love that a virtuous people have for one another when they come to know the One who is love.
Without Christ, we’re just managing the darkness. We must turn on the light! The Church must lead the way!