Russell and Duenes

Malcolm Muggeridge: Conspicuous Consumption as a Necessary Condition of our Social Survival

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Again, writing decades ago, Muggeridge puts his finger on the great and unquestioned assumption among Western Christians that to have more money means we are, of course, going to “move up” in our material acquisitiveness. Would that more garden-variety pastors would plaigarize Muggeridge in their sermons, rather than the latest “rock star” pastor.

“It is often remarked that we are in desperate need of a new religion to counter the spread of Marxist Communism. Christianity, of course, still exists and functions, with differing degrees of zeal, through a wide variety of Christian churches.

Its weakness, however, in competition with Marxist Communism lies in certain basic propositions of its founder, which, however ingeniously they may be interpreted, run directly counter to prevailing trends.

Thus, for instance, how is it possible to explain away an observation like “Blessed are the poor” when the whole dynamic of our society is in the opposite direction? Imagine a senator seeking re-election on the basis of such a slogan! He would inevitably be ignominiously defeated. No senator, to do that august assembly, the American Senate, justice, would ever make so foolish and elementary a miscalculation.

What the electorate expects, and gets, from its elected representatives are promises of ever more amenities and an ever-expanding standard of life, not panegyrics on the blessedness of poverty.”

“Again, our economists, men held in high repute among us, recommend conspicuous consumption as a necessary condition of our social survival. How can we, at one and the same time, follow their guidance and uphold the principles of the Sermon on the Mount?” (From his essay: “The First Church of Christ Economist”)


Written by Michael Duenes

April 29, 2017 at 7:19 am

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