Saturday, March 20, 2021

Hebrew Republic and Distributivism

The other day on my social media, a traditional orthodox Christian friend, sympathetic towards laissez faire economic policy questioned whether there was in fact a "biblical" case for "redistributionist" oriented economic policy. I think in short there is "biblical case" for all sorts of things under sun, but what I responded with below relates to the same history that interests this blog. My comment:

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Well, a nuanced argument [that the Bible, properly interpreted teaches economic redistribution] does exist; though admittedly as a libertarian, I don't find it convincing. And I question whether it's good theology.

But people who think that collectivist thought jumped right from Plato to Rousseau to Marx are ignorant of the biblical sources and arguments for redistribution. I don't think this argument prevailed in America (Madison's vision that rejected the argument did).

But it was noteworthy and could be "cherry picked" if one wanted a biblical and originalist case for it. It's one of the narratives of Eric Nelson's book [The Hebrew Republic]. The "republicans" v. the "liberals." Madison's vision was "liberal." The "republican" position was that of biblical redistributionism. It's the same folks who argued the Ancient Israelites had a "republic" also imputed the concept of "Agrarian laws" to the OT Jubilee and argued it was applicable to the then era (17th century onwards). 

1 comment:

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