Queensland, a part of the country where most locals seem to espouse the philosophy that two wongs don’t make a white and which is not especially well known for a radical brand of Christianity, sees some religious fanatics charged for beating swords into garden hoes.
Paul Collier reviews a couple of recent efforts to understand the logic and opportunities of, and challenges to, capitalism. Along the way, he has some insightful things to say about nationalism, ‘nationhood’, multiculturalism, and global citizenship too. (However, given the reality of religion, for example, it would be very difficult to defend the claim that ‘nationhood is the only force that has proved to be sufficiently powerful to bind millions of people together in a sense of shared identity’.)
‘We will no more be able to shield our eyes from class struggle, which began in the previous century within the nation and now has gripped all continents, gripped them indeed as a deadly conflict between the privileged and those who have been exploited for centuries. What disguises itself as the free market system and which promises to enrich all, is in reality the continuation of imperialism and colonialism by means of a capitalistic system. It survives by the third world delivering raw materials and taking back our finished goods, among which – and this is especially abominable – are weapons of every sort. Thus the slums grow, which are the underside of our prosperity, and for three quarters of humanity our earth becomes a hell, in which hunger, murder, and prostitution reign and everyone struggles with the other for survival’.
In this characteristically punchy article, Noam Chomsky speaks about the status of democracy and the US’s responsibility in Iraq, U.S. imperialism over Latin America, and the media’s shallow coverage of foreign affairs. These topics, and more, are all explored in his latest book, Interventions.
Some Chomsky quotes:
‘you can’t really have a functioning democracy under military occupation. You can have some elements of it but not much. Military occupation is too harsh’.
‘if the United States was occupied by Iran, would we be able to run a democratic society?’
‘The responsibilities are to, first of all, pay enormous reparations, not just for the war but for the murderous, sanctioned regime that preceded it and fatuous support for Saddam Hussein during the ’80s.’
‘The presupposition is “We own the world.” … Because we’re there by right. And everything we do is right by necessity and there maybe some mistakes here and there but basically, it’s ours, we’re there. And if anyone’s interfering, it’s their problem, they’re the ones who are the criminals’.
I am reminded here of Forsyth’s words addressed to another (Christian) nation:
When the capitalist stops his charities because his property is threatened by legislation we learn how short in the fibre is the charity which is not rounded on the love and pity of God. The real test of the love of man does not come till we love our enemies. The love of our enemy is only the love of our neighbour true to itself through everything. For an employer to love the strikers that have ruined his business after a long and bitter war is not in nature.. Yet that is the kind of tax to which the love of man is at last exposed. And there is only one source in the world to feed it and keep it alive—which is God’s love of His bitter enemies, and His grace to them in repaying their wrong by Himself atoning for them on the cross. Central to all our humane kindness at last is the grace of the cross. (Cruciality of the Cross, 166–7)