Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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How the West grew rich

Dinesh D’Souza thinks that the West became rich because it introduced three new things: science, democracy, and capitalism. Nice short essay on a big subject. 

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With all due respect for Dinesh D’Souza, and what he thinks, and all wonders of "science, democracy, and capitalism." But, this is just plain hogwash. The man gets the cart waaaay before the horse.

America, and "West became rich" simply because God has deemed it so. That and one very, very important lesson we have come to cherish: Above all things, America values, in James Madison’s immortal words, "liberty of conscience."

Look closely, you’ll see that "cart" in that immortal word, but it ain’t pullin’ itself!

Excuse me if this comes across as blasphemous, but is Mr. Lamb really claiming that "because God has deemed it so" is a sufficient explanation for anything? If this is the case, why do we need to study history? Indeed, why do we need to study at all?

Surely you jest!

God forbid that I should fail to give the One who knows of every single strand of hais on my head due respect, in matters of such great scope. But I do wonder why you failed to read two components in my response, then in reply you chose to insult my intelligence. Forgive me, but while I’m used to this sort narrowminded crap from those like Mr. Little, I’m kinda taken aback getting it from you.

Tsk tsk, having a bad day, dude? Or do you just find expressions of faith offensive?

Here, Mr. Moser, take a little time and read a great story. It’ll make your day. :)

Forgive me, but while I’m used to this sort narrowminded crap from those like Mr. Little, I’m kinda taken aback getting it from you.

Wow, the verbal spanking that Mr. Lamb took from Mr. Woods a few weeks ago must STILL be stinging! Poor Mr. Lamb...

I am sorry that Mr. Lamb chooses to interpret a legitimate question as a personal attack. If my statement was an example of "narrowminded crap," so must the work of Socrates and virtually every other thinker in the Western tradition. Indeed, it has been one of the great hallmarks of the West that we moved beyond the simple attribution of all things to the work of Divine Providence.

I was responding to his comment that to attribute the West’s material success to "science, democracy, and capitalism" was "just plain hogwash." He prefers to identify two other factors instead--"God has deemed it so," and "liberty of conscience." It is true that I did not refer to the latter in my question, because if one really believes in the former, the latter is irrelevant. If God simply chose to give us, in Promethean fashion, science, democracy, and capitalism, would it not follow that He gave us religious liberty as well? Why, then, should that rank above any of His other gifts?

My question was, I thought, a more or less straightforward one. If I’m trying to explain how and why JFK was assassinated, or why Adolf Hitler came to power, I am expected to do more than say, "because God willed it." Does Mr. Lamb believe that thunderstorms are caused by the Almighty hurling lightning bolts about?

Your salient point, Mr. Moser:

It is true that I did not refer to the latter in my question, because if one really believes in the former, the latter is irrelevant.

Obviously you are aware that not long ago, nobody believed the world was a globe suspended in space. And to suggest that it was, was to be branded a heretic and a kook. Obviously you are also aware, in the year 2003, that to suggest the world is flat would invite more scorn than a Republican driving an SUV, with a shotgun hung in the back window. But are you aware, Mr. Moser, that according to Gallup, nearly forty percent of Americans (including every U.S. President since 1976) claim to have gone back into their mother’s womb and to have been "born again"? While I certainly jest about the "womb," how does any sort of rationalism account for the sheer nuttiness of being "born again" at a time when modern science and the learned men of the U.S. Supreme Court have determined that life begins when a mother decides "she wants it"?

Life if full of strange ironies, Mr. Moser. Who would have thought that the wonderful invention of the Cotton Gin would lead directly to the slaughter of 300,000 young innocent American men? Concerning the circumnavigation of the globe, who, in their right mind, would believe that sales of the Bible, which emphatitically declares "the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again," would continue to dwarf Das Kapital, and indeed the very man who hastened Communism’s demise determined he "had to have it" [Biblical salvation] as a young man? Who would believe that in the year 2003, a man who said two thousand years ago, "he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust," would still be more popular than the Beatles or even Bill Clinton? Who would have believed that the rallying cry "No king but Jesus," would lead to the defeat of the greatest military power on earth and the production of the U.S. Constitution?

Science and the Holy Spirit are naturally antagonistic toward one another. One is material, the other spiritual, one is convinced that mankind can evolve and become "rich," while the other sets about convicting mankind of sin. James Madison personally loathed Christ, Christians and everything about religion, but he and his fellow Founders also believed "Religion, morality, and knowledge," are "necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind."

I can believe in the former, that "Divine Providence" makes "all things work together for the good," while not have a clue as to what that "good" may be, even as I can flip a light switch and enjoy the miracles of science not understanding how electricty works, Mr. Moser. And the latter, the "Liberty of conscience" is not rendered "irrelevant" in doing so. Science afterall was once convinced the world was flat. A man called Columbus proved science wrong. And yes, Christopher Columbus was a "born again" Christian.

Science afterall was once convinced the world was flat. A man called Columbus proved science wrong. And yes, Christopher Columbus was a "born again" Christian.

The idea of the world being flat was far more rooted in religion and mythology than science.

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