June 10, 2019

Pelagians in the Swamp

Timothy Birdnow

Pelagius was a fourth and fifth century Scottish theologian notorious for creating the Pelagian heresy, which was soundly rebutted by St. Augustine. Pelagius denied Original Sin and the need for God's grace, arguing that human beings could perfect themselves based on their choices. Sound familiar? It should; it's what modern Liberals and even conservative Progressives - the core of the Ruling Class - believes.

Palagius believed sin was not inherited but rather was just a matter of bad example, and he believed man could overcome it just by dint of effort and structure. He was condemned for heresy at the Council of Carthage.

Writing in Christianity Today Missouri's freshman Senator Josh Hawley points out that the modern elites in America are essentially Palagians. From his article:

Because if freedom means choice among options, then the people with the most choices are the most free. And that means the rich. And if salvation is about achievement, then those with the most accolades are righteous, and that means the elite and the strong. A Pelagian society is one that celebrates the wealthy, prioritizes the powerful, rewards the privileged. And for too long now, that has described modern America.

In the last five decades, our society has become hierarchical. Consider: If you are wealthy or well-educated, your life prospects are bright. College graduates and those with advanced degrees enjoy markedly higher wages. They rarely divorce. They have higher life expectancy. They enjoy better access to better healthcare. Their children attend better schools and score better on achievement tests. They have more opportunities for civic involvement and participation.

But if you don’t have family wealth and don’t have a four-year degree—and that’s 70 percent of Americans—well, the future is far less glowing. These Americans haven’t seen a real wage increase in 30 years. These Americans are fighting to hold their families together, as divorce rates surge. For these Americans, healthcare is unaffordable. Drug addiction is growing. And too many of their local communities, especially rural ones, have been gutted as industry consolidates and ships jobs away.

A society divided by class, where one class enjoys all the advantages, is a society gripped by hierarchy.

It is also a society defined by elitism. Of course, our elites don’t use that word. They say their privileged position comes from merit and achievement. They point to their SAT scores and prestigious degrees. They talk about economic efficiency.

How Pelagian of them.

The truth is, the people at the top of our society have built a culture and an economy that work mainly for themselves. Our cultural elites look down on the plain virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice, things like humility and faithfulness. They celebrate instead self-promotion, self-discovery, self-aggrandizement.

And then when industry ships jobs overseas, they say, workers should find another trade. Capital must be allocated to its most efficient use. When workers without college degrees can’t get a good job, they say that’s their fault. They should have gone to college.

Now, I rather suspect that if globalization threatened America’s tech industry or banking sector, our elites would sing a very different tune. We would hear how these industries are the lifeblood of the American economy and must be protected at all cost.

And that’s just the point. The elites assume their interests are vital while dismissing others. They assume their value preferences should prevail, while denigrating the loves and loyalties of Middle America. That’s the nature of elitism.

End excerpt.

Hawley is right; modern America is split into those who are IN and the rest of us. The IN crowd sees itself as a meritocracy, but in fact you can buy your way in, which is what the college admission scandals so clearly illustrates. So much of the "meritocracy" in America is not what you know but who.

And the rule of the Establishment has been disastrous, as it has become entirely self-serving and at odds with religious and moral truths. In short, the Establishment has deified itself, believing it's own press to the point of sneering at the God-fearing and substituting its own worldview for the beliefs that stem from faith and tradition. Entry into the Ruling Class is more akin to receiving godhood status than simply moving up the social ladder.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 07:56 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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