1. Gosh, this is an instance of the blind beating the dumb with a baseball bat. I would not know what side to take if I did not detest Zmirak with a holy hatred. He’s right mostly on the Magisterium front, but the Magisterium is pretty dumb on this topic anyway. It’s the equivalent of citing reddit threads on TV shows or something: who cares? Other than that, his characterization of the rise of capitalism is totally screwy: he and the person he cites make it seem like it was some internal process of buying and selling by the Church when it was reality the conquest of the Western Hemisphere, the decimation of the peoples there by disease and war, the sacking of precious metals, and the boom in commodity production fueled by the Atlantic slave trade that were what made modern capitalism possible. Before then, you just had loose federations of city-states and crappy kingdoms that barely reached the level of “civilized” in places. Indeed, in some ways, when Cortes and Pizarro reached the ancient civilizations of the “New World” the cities there were much larger and cleaner and the social organization more advanced than the Europeans. (The Aztecs in particular went back and forth between seeing them as gods or beasts, particularly since they were ill-mannered and filthy). As Jared Diamond stated, what won the day was guns, germs, and steel (but mostly germs). In one sense, Europe was squeezed and Europe got lucky.

    Other than that, ESB is dumb because a socialist reading of the New Testament is impossible since the closest political-economic system that we have to describe what’s going on in there is anti-imperial eco-anarchism. There are lots of radical exegetes who read it this way. The problem with ESB and Co. is that they are easy pickings for conservatives who poke holes in the obvious statist readings of the New Testament. For the most part, the attitude of the NT writers was against the State and the economic order in that it wanted nothing to do with them, it thought that God was going to judge and destroy the Temple and the Empire, and re-found society on an order in tune with God’s original creation. Both sides of this debate are wrong, but they find ample ammunition with which to attack each other because their readings of the Gospel avoid one facet in support of another.

    1. >anti-imperial eco-anarchism

      Explain please? Is this like anarcho-primitivism or more like Bookchin’s democratic confederalism/social ecology? I feel like I’m missing something here.

        1. Interesting. What would you suggest as a good resource for Anarcho-primitivism? As a leftist I’ve heard a lot of bad shit about and I’d like to read stuff from the other side of the fence.

  2. I got banned from The Catholic Thing’s combox last time I read a Zmirak article. I find it unfortunate that he has taken to internecine warfare.

  3. Isnt it really just like the way “compassionate conservative” has been used ironically once it became clear the content was all that different than what preceded it?

    Alliteration always does more than may be intended, too.

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