Book review part 1 of Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian faith and American Culture by Herbert Scholssberg Not all books are for everybody. But this book may be a must-read for you if you are any of the following:
- If you are an American. Or you know an American. Or are at all interested in American culture.
- If you are a Christian. Or you know a Christian. Or you are all interested in Christian social philosophy.
- If you are a political conservative. Or you know a political conservative. Or you are at all interested in political conservatism.
- If you are interested in American culture, Christian social philosophy or political conservatism for personal reasons, professional reasons or academic reasons.
[Ryan] no longer considers only the 15 percent of the population that is below the federal poverty line to be deprived. “At least two-thirds, perhaps three-fourths of us are relatively poor compared to the standards of the top 10 or 5 percent.” He could, of course, have used a ratio of 80-20, 60-40 or 99-1. Any arbitrary division will do because his concept has nothing to do with poverty but with resentment.Woah, let’s look at that again.
He could, of course, have used a ratio of 80-20, 60-40 or 99-1.Schlossberg penned these words with a flurry of hyperbole in the late 1980s, and one can almost hear the humored exasperation with which he wrote. 99 percent to 1 percent?! Surely that number is so utterly ridiculous that no serious political analysis would ever make such a statement. Source: Paul_S/Flickr To paraphrase Schlossberg’s statement: Any arbitrary division will do because this concept has nothing to do with poverty but with resentment. Only about 20 years after the publication of the book, the depths of resentment within American culture have reached the level that Schlossberg thought unbelievable. Almost prophetically addressing this point, Schlossberg goes on to say that “there is no refuge in the cry that the system is responsible.” The problem is with people, and there will be problems with envy in any economic system. The lesson here is not about Occupy Wall Street, is not about income inequality, and is not about political marketing. The lesson here is to never underestimate the capacity of the human condition for envy.