We Need a New Religion
that's not just for lefties
Up to now I have said, expanding on the late Andrew Breitbart, that politics is downstream from culture. And culture is downstream from religion And religion is downstream from the meaning of “life, the universe, everything.”
But now I want to change my mind.
That’s because I am in the middle of reading Wilhelm Röpke’s The Humane Economy. He says , yeah, the market economy with its price signals is the only way to go, but we need religion, especially in the massified society of the last 200 years.
Wilhelm Röpke? He was born in the German village of Schwarmstedt. This is how his student Patrick Boarman describes his youth, from Wilhelm Röpke by John Zmirak.
The simplicity and naturalness of this village existence left the sensitive youth with a host of memories… The warmth, the love, the stability, the small joys and sorrows of this rural childhood, in which family, church, school, parents, friends, and nature were melded into an organic whole… became to him an ideal to which he frequently referred.
But there’s more.
People helped each other with labor and with tools… It would have occurred to no one in this giving and taking to make a precise calculation of how he would come out in the deal.
And Röpke speaks of “how life in our village… was so vibrant and lively and soul-satisfying.” It is, of course, what Husserl and Habermas call Lebenswelt and I call Life World. I think that the fundamental characteristic of Life World is Relationship. People are so close that there is no alternative but to maintain a trusting and reciprocal relationship. Anything less than that is unthinkable.
Now Röpke believes in the market economy, in the free exchange of goods and services and the price signaling mechanism. But it cannot work without religion.
But you need a religion that works well with the market economy and the free exchange of goods and services. And this is where our liberal friends go wrong. Their religion does not compute. That is what I thought after reading a piece about “The Left’s Fantasies.” Alan Joseph Bauer writes about
Tony Blinken’s fantasy of a Palestinian state
the push for EV cars
the trans fantasy
The fantasy of unlimited immigration
The point is that these are not political issues for our lefty friends. They are religious beliefs.
The problem that the left doesn’t just want to go off to church to practice their religion. Their religion is a state religion; everyone is required to belong to the liberal church and practice the left’s belief in Palestinian statehood or you are a supporter of genocide, in the evil of fossil fuels or you are a climate denier, in the rights of trangenders or you are a transphobe, in unlimited immigration or you are a nativist.
Note that if you don’t believe and practice those beliefs then you are evil.
Now it seems to me that at the level of Life World everyone believes in the unstated — but universally practiced — beliefs of the community. At the level of the Abstract World of the market economy then you need to establish a reputation for trustworthiness or you don’t get to play. That, of course, is what the credit rating agencies are all about. But whatabout the War World of national politics and state religion?
I hope that Wilhelm Röpke really gets into the nuts and bolts of that in The Humane Economy. The point is, can we develop a society that at all levels is “vibrant and lively and soul-satisfying?” Or is that impossible in a society that has expanded beyond the local relationships of Life World? Right now, according to Röpke, the place that best approaches this ideal is Switzerland, where the local government is big and the federal government is small. That’s where Röpke lived for the rest of his life after he was chucked out of Nazi Germany in 1933.