Should Sweden Be the American Model?

Johan Norberg discusses on The Federalist podcast (here) what lessons America can learn from Sweden’s economy, education system, and more. He is a host of the new documentary, “Sweden: Lessons for American?”

Norberg debunks the myths and misconceptions about the supposedly “socialist” country of Sweden. A very good interview, especially since so many in America, particularly young people (and Bernie Sanders), point to the Scandinavian countries as models for redistributionism for the common weal.

This is a very good interview, rich with detail, perspective, and reflection on capitalism as the only hope to bring bring the most people out of poverty.

A Word to the Rich from St. John Chrysostom

Words from St. John Chrysostom (d.407) to the rich as he encourages them to a life of almsgiving – “As those who fly unincumbered with clothes are not easily caught, but they who are incumbered with many garments and a long train are soon overtaken, so it is with the rich man and the poor. The one, though he be taken, will easily make his escape, whilst the other, though he be not detained, is incumbered by cords of his own, by numberless cares, distresses, passions, provocations, all which overwhelm the soul, and not these alone, but many other things which riches draw after them. It is much more difficult for a rich man to be moderate and to live frugally, than for the poor, more difficult for him to be free from passion. Then he, you say, will have the greater reward.— By no means.— What, not if he overcomes greater difficulties?— But these difficulties were of his own seeking. For we are not commanded to become rich, but the reverse. But he prepares for himself so many stumbling-blocks and impediments.”

Christians and Political Involvement

Many who criticize the Christian’s political involvement do so as if there were a “universal man,” a man stripped of culture, language, tradition, and history. They ask him to be committed to no culture, no civilization, no nation, no tradition, in other words, to be an ahistorical man.

This man has not and cannot exist. It is through these phenomena that we are “we.” To detach from them is to seek the “non-human.” To participate in them is to be the particular men we are. Through them comes the common grace of God. To deny them is to forsake our neighbor by denying his natural humanity.

Of course, we are not Greek or Jew, slave or free, male or female, etc., as touching justification with God. But the peoples were created by God and the places they should live, as the Bible states. In Christ we move toward culture and civilization, not away from it, and in Christ we “seek the welfare of the city.” This certainly involves the governing of it, as well as education, the arts, business, etc. In all these areas, when they are engaged well, we find Christ at work. To be meaningfully involved is actually to move toward Christ.

There is no doubt that the Church is that organism which is at the center of God’s plan, the apple of his eye, where the Christian fulfills his primary obligation as a worshiper and servant of the God Most High. Yet his obligation to God and to others does not stop there but radiates out, not only to engage them with the Gospel but also to be salt, preservers of the common grace of God where we live.

Ben Sasse Needs to Make Up His Mind

Ben Sasse needs to make up his mind. He votes with Trump over 95% of the time, and 95% of the time he’s scolding Trump and other conservatives who support him.

Slate gets this in its cover story in July 2017, “The Wasted Mind of Ben Sasse.” It’s wasted because in the world Sasse has chosen to live in, you can get what Trump has done without Trump. This only turns Sasse into a sniper who is a loner and is not part of a longer term solution. This is the “Jimmy Carter MO,” as well as the “Barack Obam MO.” The public must turn away from them ultimately because they become noise. They preach at us because they don’t want to live in the world that is the real world, and they wish the voters didn’t make them do it. It’s our fault, in other words. They are better than us.

No one is really caring that Ben Sasse thinks about leaving the GOP everyday, but he wants to make sure we share his angst. I don’t, and the whining gets old. Everyone in politics knows that you end up doing things you had rather not do, supporting people you had rather not support, voting for things you had rather not vote for. Sasse goes through what everyone else goes through. We just don’t pour our angst into everbody’s coffee cup and tell them to drink it.