Jonah Goldberg strikes again , reminding us that envy, a deadly sin, is in fact bad. After accomplishing this difficult intellectual task, he makes a real leap. He calls socialism "the ideology of envy", which thus, apparently makes it ungodly, a system to be rejected by true Christians of God's Country (America, if you haven't caught on).
The Seven Deadly sins gained popularity in the middle ages, having been written down in the sixth century. But the Christian faith (and the Jewish tradition is springs from) which Goldberg tries to draw in by using the language of sin was never quick to agree with his worship of money.
Basil the Great, a Catholic saint and one of the Three Holy Heirachs
in the Eastern Orthodox church, has this to say about the merits of private property: "The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the man who needs it;…the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor."
St. Ambrose, one of the fourth original doctors of the Catholic church, goes even further to identify what is actually the sin which corrupts human society and removes it from God's ideal: "God willed that this earth should be the common possession of all and he offered its fruits to all. But avarice distributed the rights of possession."
Where did these men get these crazy ideas?
One likely culprit is Jesus, when he tells parables about the rich
going to hell merely for allowing the poor to suffer, (The Rich Man and
Lazarus, Luke 16:19), or perhaps when he explicitly explains who shall
be saved and who shall perish (Matthew 25:34) 34"Then the King will say
to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take
your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of
the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was
thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you
invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and
you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37"Then
the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and
feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see
you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40"The
King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the
least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Just imagine Bill
O'Reilly telling Jesus to go get a job and stop asking for hand outs.
Now, you can believe that Jesus got these ideas straight from God; most
conservatives are rather obligated to believe this if they call
themselves Christians. However, these are not ideas that just sprung up
with the New Testament: rather, they are deeply rooted in Jewish law,
such as laws outlawing the taking of interest on loans (Leviticus 25:36
and two other places), requiring the fogiveness of debts every seven
years (Deuteronomy 15:1), or forbiding taking profit from food sold to
the poor (Leviticus 25:37).
So greed may be a sin, right? But not like
sodomy. After all, Sodomy is named after a city that was destroyed for
their homosexuality, so that must be much worse, yes? No: Sodom was on
the chopping block before any mention is made of their homosexuality.
But Ezekial is kind enough to inform us ins plain words why they were
hated by God: 49 " 'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and
her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help
the poor and needy. So, according to a Judeo-Christian belief system,
the sin that keeps us from an egalitarian utopia, that puts a person
squarely in the "goats" category, that puts our entire economic system
in violation of God's law, and caused the destruction of Sodom, is not
what Jonah Goldberg calls "The most consequential sin", envy, but
rather the one that defines Capitalism: Greed.