The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism - 5

Maybe one of the only good things to come out of the enlightenment was the notion of a political pluralism - a society that recognizes and appreciates and tolerates a multitude of differences, yet remains united in first principles. In the Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Michael Novak addresses the importance of authentic pluralism and argues against an explicitly sectarian government:
“For grave dangers to the human spirit lurk in the subordination of the political system and the economic system to a single moral-cultural vision. Daily life is (as Christians believe) a contest with the world, the flesh, and the devil. An attempt to impose the Kingdom of God upon this contest is dangerous not only to human liberty but to Christianity itself (and to any other religion similarly tempted. For darkness and recalcitrance always demand their due and corrupt those who would replace them.

In the world as it is, humans as they are often and unavoidably enmeshed in lies, betrayals, injustices, and sinful energies of every sort. Prematurely, before the endtime, to attempt to treat any society of this world as “a Christian society” is to confound precious hope with a sad reality. Human beings, even the most devout and serious Christians, cannot be expected to act always and in all ways, as Christians ought to act, under the sway and impulse of God’s grace. A political system based upon such expectations must necessarily end in disaster. An economic system based upon such expectations must necessarily confound illusions with realities. In the world as it is, Reinhold Niebuhr warned throughout his exemplary intellectual life, “the children of light” are in many respects a greater danger to biblical faith than “the children of darkness.” (pg. 68)
Such a quest is tempting for many Christians, but as Novak points out, the quest is wrongheaded. While it's intentions may be noble, a quest to Christianize the system may have unintended consequences. Like tyranny.

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